“The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 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.” ll Corinthians 9: 6 – 8 NRSV
October highlights our formal Stewardship campaign: “Play your part, Pray your part.” I am very excited for this year’s campaign. Why? It gives us the opportunity to put our wealth and abundance to work. This year presents the critical nature of what our gifts enable the ministries we are called to perform.
Our gifts and giving not only reflect our inner most faith but also show our commitment. Our tithes, pledges, and plate offerings all combine to bring FPCLC the financial stability. In fact, the giving since March has been remarkable and all y’all have really shown your great commitment to God and to our church.
The leadership of the church is diligently and methodically going through our budgets for the remainder of 2020 and for the year of 2021. It is because of your great commitment and giving, so far this year, that we have not had to alter staff and eliminate programs. We are blessed and very fortunate.
The staff has worked and is working very hard to be creative in bringing different worship experiences and yet try to keep the “normalcy” around us. We are working on Christmas Eve as you read this and are trying some things that might be able to bring us all together if we can…but you know how God feels about plans!
I believe that giving and stewardship are critical spiritual disciplines that each of us must practice. Scripture tells us that the main reason we give to God is out of gratitude for all God has done for us. If we do not give joyfully and out of gratitude to God and out of our abundance, then we miss the point of the blessings God has bestowed upon us.
God gives us so many blessings which have been showered upon us by God’s generous hand. Our response in gratitude, is so that God’s will can be accomplished here, in this world, and in God’s church. We practice the threefold love that God calls on us to perform. An upward, inward, and outward love.
Grateful giving is never giving out of what is left over. It is giving of the best that we have. Also, grateful giving is never static; it is always striving to grow. I know that grateful giving is a very private thing between us and God. However, stewardship, which spans giving as well as use of our talents, is an essential part of the life in the Spirit for any person who kneels to the Lordship of Christ. Jesus talked about wealth and money as often as He did because Jesus knew that one’s spirit life cannot be divorced from one’s financial life. He knew that if one wanted to see what is important in a person’s life, one need only consider where they spend their money.
The point is to grow in your giving and thus in your love of the Lord. Stewardship is not about the church. It is about your relationship to and with the Lord. Is it growing or is it standing still? What is your attitude showing about your relationship as it is marked by stewardship?
As we celebrate, and yes I said celebrate, our stewardship program I ask that you prayerfully consider your relationship with God, and how you can serve the Body of Christ. Please consider how you can nurture, grow and stretch your own spiritual life. “Play your part, Pray your part.”