The Canon Rector’s Message
As we are in that season of counting our blessings and giving back to God, I am reminded about our Stewardship theme for this year: “The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.” That comes from the Bible, of course, 2 Corinthians 9: 7-8.
That’s why I have always maintained that the heart of Christian Stewardship is thanksgiving. O, to be sure there are plenty of needs that face the Church in general these days, and that face Saint Paul’s in particular. I could wax on eloquently about those needs and concerns, starting with the water leakage from the gables and a secondary big chunk of plaster that fell off the Rose Window arch just yesterday. And I could go on about the cost of utilities and the expense of insurance, and the rate of inflation. And I could do that all with the persuasion of a person running for public office.
I could ask us to be focused on guilt-based stewardship. How many are the sermons that I have heard (and how few I’ve given) that challenge people to compare what they give to their spending in other areas. You know the sort of sermon I’m talking about: how much do you spend on cigarettes? Dinners out? Your favorite beverage? Taking rides in the country side? And the like.
If it weren’t a violation of confidential information, I could feature pictures of people who have come to my office to seek assistance. And, I could show people gathered around dinners on the table, or people still keeping their homes, or people not wearing sweaters because of the propane tanks I’ve filled with the help of your generosity.
But at the heart of Christian Stewardship is an awareness: God has showered you with blessings. And, he expects you to use those to make it possible for His work to continue in the world. That’s why he needs our help in what we call stewardship. That’s why we go through the pledge drive every year, and invite people to give to the church. It is because God needs our partnership in accomplishing his work. And he is counting on you to help the work of Saint Paul’s Parish to flourish. God loves the cheerful giver, because the cheerful giver is the one who has made a transformation in his /her life. The cheerful giver is the one who knows that he/she’s received the Lord’s blessing, and who shows gratitude by making it possible for others to receive the same.