As I write this November is already here and it finally feels like fall. And of course we are looking forward to Thanksgiving, perhaps with greater anticipation because you will again be able to gather with family and friends around tables of wonderful food prepared with love, sharing joyful stories of family memories and sharing feelings of gratitude that we are together again! Unfortunately we will not be celebrating a congregational Thanksgiving Dinner together this year out of continuing caution in regard to Covid. However, on November 21st we will celebrate Gratitude Sunday when we bring our pledges to worship and dedicate our gifts to God’s work and glory.
So, yes it is that time again when Stewardship Committees and Pastors seek to encourage the congregation to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider what stewardship means in regard to our faith and our relationship with God. 1st I want to say that all of stewardship is about thanksgiving to God for what God has done and continues to do for each of us. It’s also about using our resources in such a way that it glorifies God and becomes God’s presence among all people. The 2nd thing that happens with stewardship is how we talk about it or how we don’t talk about it. Too often we talk in broad terms because as we all know talking about money itself is just way too personal for people. We often soften the message using phrases like ‘We are to give generously of our Time, Talent and Treasure,’ while effectively downplaying talk about God’s claim on our ‘treasure.’ However, to truly be open to God concerning everything in our lives, we need to be able to directly say ‘Stewardship is about money.’ If we are honest it is only those of us with money who have the luxury of espousing that it isn’t about the money. The reality of our world tells us that if you can’t buy medicine for your baby, it is about money. If you are working 3 jobs and struggling to feed a family, it is about money. Money may not buy happiness but it certainly can be the deciding factor whether someone lives or dies. God cares about the place money has in our lives, because God cares about us and those he sends us to.
As we go into yet another Stewardship season, there will be the usual trepidation about discussing money. However, I believe that our congregation is very open to the claim God has on our lives and the place money has in our lives. Jesus told stories about money all the time. He talked about the poor, the rich, caring for the stranger, building big barns, and widow’s mites. He never treated it as a hush-hush topic—He spoke openly about money and its blessings and pitfalls.
As we enter this season, may God continue to bless you so that you might be a blessing to others. May God bring you joy in giving as we continue to be His hands and feet serving the least of these in His kingdom.