“S” is for Stewardship.
We began our Time and Talent Survey at the end of the September and the return of your completed questionnaires is anticipated for the 11th October. Taking the time to fill this out – even if only to ensure we have your correct contact information, is a form of Stewardship. It shows that you value the time you have, yet you’re willing to offer it for the congregational and community families to which you belong.
This recognition that who we are and what we have are not to be hoarded is one of the better definitions of living in community. It’s an open admission of the responsibilities that we share for and with one another as brothers and sisters in Jesus. If we follow the command of Jesus to teach, to minister, to the ends of the earth then we engage in sharing all that we are and have. It means talking about what is important to us and showing that what is important to others becomes a priority to us also. How we do is isn’t always clear, of course.
Brother Mark Brown, of the Society of St John the Evangelist, wrote, “Alongside our urge to speak of the things of God (as best we can) is the realization that we are indeed limited in our understanding. Human words, images, concepts: none of these can actually grasp the mystery of God.”
Practising Stewardship can be equally as mysterious. We never really know how much to “risk” when we tell someone we’ll give them our time, or our attention, or our support. We never understand, fully, with whom we may rub shoulders and in what ways. Yet Jesus seems always to press us farther and farther, hoping that we’ll make that extra effort to be present for others, no matter who they are. Lavish Stewardship and Lavish Generosity are to become the guiding principles for us as disciples of Jesus no matter in what we happen to be engaging.
At this time of year, in addition to looking to see how we may offer our time and the skills and aspirations with which we’ve been blessed so that we can look forward to the coming months and years ahead, the BAC will be asking us to consider how our financial blessings may impact the lives of those in our church and civic communities. There’s a story I’ve told, which I won’t repeat here just now, which concludes with the comment, “We can do better.” That’s something which I try to ask myself quite frequently.
How much have we been holding back? Savings, especially for emergencies, are one thing. Economists tell us that this is not a particularly “saving” society, and they suggest that we need to think about this. But this applies to the resources of this congregation too. How much better can I do? God has been incredibly generous to me, in a very practical way. There are so many ways in which God provides for my needs and nourishes me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t wonder what’s coming down the road. But it does challenge me to be more lavish with my time, with my energy, with my talents – with my money.
God spoke to the writer of the Letter to the Philippians who said, “Always be joyful, then, in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful…. Tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer … keep doing everything you learnt from me … then the peace of God will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4 -9)
Oh, and by the way, “S” is also for Salvation!
In Jesus’ Love,