This week we will once again gather in the sanctuary of Christ Presbyterian Church for worship. This Sunday will also be the conclusion of our financial stewardship emphasis for 2014. While we carry a theme and spirit of stewardship into every day of our lives, we set apart this specific time to focus our attention upon the financial realities of our lives and our calling to support Christ’s Church.
What Bill Gilchrist said when he offered this year’s reflection on our music ministry continues to resound in my mind. He reminded us that what we are doing is different than a PBS pledge drive. For some this may seem like a semantic distinction. I would disagree and remind us that what we are doing is a spiritual action.
You may have notice that I try to refrain from using the words “campaign” and “pledge” when speaking of our financial stewardship. I do this because I believe that we are talking about a life commitment rather than a temporary promise. Yes, we still ask you to help us with the practical matter of telling us how much you intend to give as your offering, but what we are asking is much deeper than that.
Our financial stewardship not only helps to support and maintain the common ministries of the church. Financial stewardship is a testimony to the world about how we understand our lives. When we give as a reflection of our understanding that God’s gifts are resident in our lives, we frame our lives as sustained by God.
Our theme verse 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 reminds us not only of what our attitude should be but what our perspective should be in giving.
“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.”
In this passage we see what makes our stewardship emphasis different than the PBS fund drive. We give not so we can keep programs on the air or ministries alive, but because we know that God is abundantly providing for us.
Perhaps the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases our theme text will help.
I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
I love the sentiment expressed by Peterson. I pray that you take time to think and pray over what you will commit to giving over the next year to support the work of God through Christ Presbyterian. I believe that God’s blessing rests upon the members and friends of Christ Presbyterian Church, both individually and communally.
This Sunday during both services you will be asked to indicate on a commitment card what you intended to give in support of God’s work. As always, I pray that our commitment will increase. I pray for increase, not only so we can rest easy, but that through expanded commitment we may also see an increased impact in our community.
Remember, following the 11 AM service we will have a pot-luck Celebration Luncheon. The Stewardship Taskforce will supply the main dish and asks that everyone bring a dish to pass.
- How have you been blessed by God through the ministry of Christ Presbyterian Church?
- Are you able to increase your financial commitment for the coming year?