I confess that today is a difficult day. While this will be read in October, I write in late September on the 30th anniversary of my mother’s death. And so it’s a difficult day.
And I am reminded of all those who have lost loved ones with an understanding that the time of grief does not lessen the hurt. Yes, it gives us tools we can use to manage our aching, but – for me – to claim that the wounds somehow go away feels insulting both to those who grieve and those who are grieved.
One of the many ways I believe that my mom influenced me is in the formation of my faith. So many of us have been guided in our faith by those who have modeled and lived in profound and prophetic ways. So many of us have been guided in our faith by those who have taught and led and given and nurtured and sacrificed.
And so as we enter into October – our traditional stewardship month – we do well to consider the lessons of those who have taught us so much about our faith, especially how those lessons remind us about our call to participate and support the ministries of our church home.
I remember in the church where I grew up the year that the stewardship program was not simply focused on financial gifts, but that stewardship includes our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. And that one without the others is incomplete.
I remember a conversation with a Head Usher in a church that stewardship is a prayerful process, a conversation with God where we are challenged and stretched and invited even more deeply into covenant relationship.
And I remember others who taught me some ways that I didn’t want to participate in the life of the church, including some who wished for favorable treatment because they gave money or had status.
I suggest that we all have stories like this of persons who have shaped our faith and our vision of how we participate in our churches and our communities. During this October season of stewardship, I would like for us to explore some of these stories, including some from less familiar sources stretching from the twentieth to the first centuries. These faithful saints did not limit themselves to the obligatory “gifts and service,” dedicating some portion of their income to the offering plate. They joyfully and faithfully dedicated their entire lives to Christ Jesus and the ministries of the church in devotion and gratitude.
We will embark on a stewardship series entitled “Stewardship with the Saints” where we will explore:
- October 4, 2015: Sarah Crosby – The Way of Necessity
- October 11, 2015: St. Luke the Evangelist – The Way of Generosity
- October 18, 2015: Francis of Assisi –The Way of Poverty
- October 25, 2015: Mary McLeod Bethune — The Way of Authority, with our guest, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett
It is my hope that we may together grow in our understanding of stewardship as more than an annual financial campaign, but as an important reminder of our spiritual disciplines. And it is my hope that we may together become even more fully committed Christians, dedicating our entire lives to Christ Jesus.
Grace and peace to you all…
Note: For more information on Pacific Beach UMC’s membership covenant of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, please see our “Membership & Discipleship” brochure available by clicking the button below.