Stewardship is Year Round Thanks Giving
The wardens have asked me to share a few thoughts on stewardship as St. John’s enters its Fall pledge drive. I hope these words will help you as you pray and reflect on your pledge for 2019.
One of my daughters rowed crew for her college and I went to as many meets as I could. To this day I remember the way in which the racing shell seemed so far away on the lake and, at the gun the boats seemed to take off as the women rowed. These boats glided over the surface of the water like one of those water bugs, seemingly effortlessly. And do they move! A race seemed over almost as quickly as it had started. I have never forgotten the events. What a thrill.
What was behind the effort was immense. There was physical effort of course and training, a lot of training. But what was very clear was rhythm. The crew had to take their different selves with different ranges of ability and strength and ‘dance’ to a cadence. All together they made a team. All together they made the craft move. All together they made it work.
A parish is a lot like a crew working for the same goal. We train together each Sunday at Eucharist so faith is strengthened. We sing and say words to praise God in a rhythmic way. We share fellowship after service although few would think of ‘coffee hour’ as a locker room. All together we keep the spiritual boat moving, and no matter how different we are in experience and strength and ability, the parish ‘floats’ because we all are in this faith enterprise together.
Jesus, somewhat like a good coach, encourages the faithful. Jesus is recorded as talking more about wealth than love, but they intertwine. It is hard to really love in the abstract: it is spiritual growth to translate love into the real and practical. It takes discipline (rhythm) to follow Christ, and the parish offers that in how we share what we have. Good stewardship is one of the pillars of discipline. (Matthew 6:21)
Your pledge places you as part of the team, the crew, the community with whom you worship and with whom you share the journey of faith. It represents a disciple’s response to the Way of Jesus, namely a regular and systematic display of gratitude for all God’s gifts, and especially for the gift of St. John’s parish community. Together the community grows and like good athletes it takes regular work to move forward.
In the coming weeks do use the enclosed prayer offered by your Vestry and bring your completed pledge card on our Ingathering Sunday, November 4.
Remember your pledge is confidential and may be adjusted at any time. And do not hesitate to ask any question of any member of the vestry or the clergy. Those conversations too remain confidential. May you find wisdom and insight into the Way of Christ in your stewardship.