Stewardship Season is a wonderful season – it is a gift. It is a time in which we are given the opportunity to recommit ourselves to God and to our church.
Next Sunday is our Stewardship Dedication Sunday. So, if you haven’t already done so, spend some time this week in discernment, reflecting upon our call to glorify God through worship and work. I encourage you then to use the pledge card in your stewardship package to capture part of what you plan to do next year for and through this church, viewing stewardship as a gift and an opportunity to recommit to God’s work.
You know, Stewardship Season is commonly associated with money. It is true that joyful, generous financial giving is an important, long-established, scripture-based spiritual discipline. And using the pledge card to communicate our financial commitment to the church does enable our church leadership to make informed and wise decisions going into the new year. Nevertheless, the truth is that money is not what’s really on my mind this morning when I think about commitment to our church.
Again, it’s an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.
When I mentioned recommitting to our church, I was primarily thinking about the commitments that we made when we joined this church. Paraphrasing just a bit:
• We acknowledged that we are w/o hope w/o God’s mercy.
• We vowed that we believe in Jesus as the Son of God and our savior.
• We vowed that we, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, would endeavor to live in a way becoming followers of Jesus.
And we promised to support the Church – this church – in its worship and work to the best or our ability.
The wonderful thing about stewardship season is that it’s a chance to celebrate that we’re “all in” – not just our money. We are fully “in” with all of the faith, effort, work, challenges, and joy that our commitment as members of this church entails.
Margaret and I spent roughly the first halves of our lives as United Methodists. Much like the promise we Presbyterians make to support the church to the best of our abilities, Methodists vow to support the church with their “prayer, presence, gifts, and service.”
I frankly think we are at a critical juncture in this church. We could be scared by that, or we could decide that we are in the midst of an exciting time. I believe it’s an exciting time for us at First Presbyterian. And I believe we will succeed in glorifying God if we commit to supporting this church with our prayers, presence, gifts, and service.
As you reflect this week upon your stewardship commitment, I encourage you to commit:
• To pray for this church every day.
• To be present. If you are in town and your ox is not in a ditch, come to worship; and look for other opportunities, like Sunday School, to make meaningful connections with others – people with whom you’ve lost a connection, people you don’t know well, people of a different generation.
• To be thoughtful and imaginative about the gifts and talents that God has given you and how you can use those gifts to enhance the worship and work of this church.
• To continue the proud heritage of service to and through 1st Pres.