John Wesley’s “Trilateral”

There’s been a lot of talk of money on the television and in the papers over the past few weeks. If it’s not been about setting a benefit cap at £26,000 and how the Bishops have been interfering, it’s been about bankers’ bonuses and how the government have been avoiding interfering in it.

I was surprised to read that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had at times in his life an annual income which would equate to around £900,000 in today’s terms. This would put his earnings in the same category as the annual salary of Stephen Hester the RBS chief! This mammoth income was gained through the sale of books, donations and public speaking.

Wesley had his rule of life about money –his trilateral.

Gain all you can – Use your time well, be industrious, work hard and make money, but not at the expense of our life, our health, our minds or those of others.

Save all you can – Consider your spending! Sometimes the sparkly things of life can distract us from that which God calls us to. If we have this attitude to wealth we are more able to complete Wesley’s trilateral.

Give all you can – This was the motivation of the first two points. If we earn and save all we can we are better positioned to give.  Wesley identified, self, family, God’s work and those in need. He maintained his lifestyle based on the original £30 a year he had. It is estimated that at the height of his income he gave away 98% of his money – totaling an equivalent £19million over his lifetime!

We may not be able to match these grand totals but fresh consideration of that we earn may affect our use of it.

Imagine what could be achieved if I did this, you did this, the House of Bishops and even Mr Hester did this. What a different town, nation and world we may see.
Richard Melling