Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The topic I would really like to tackle this month is stewardship. It is a topic that no one likes to hear coming from the pastor. In fact, there are tales which may or may not be true of churches that ran off their pastor because he or she talked about stewardship once each year. It seems that one time a year is one time too many for some people. Why is that?
Jesus understood humanity’s relationship to money and things. The number one topic Jesus spoke on or told parables about is money or our relation to it. To name a few off the top of my head: “No one can serve two masters; . . . You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24); To the rich young ruler, “Sell all you have, give the money to the poor and follow me.” (Mark 10:21); “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:23); and “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more that all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”(Luke 21:3-4)
I bring this up because our churches need your financial support here at the end of 2009 and your commitment as we begin 2010. The good news is that both churches are current on our debt and we have been good stewards of what you have given. In fact, in both churches we have spent a little less then what you have given this year.
The bad news is that both churches have one challenge ahead of them. For Grey Eagle, the challenge is the mortgage on the building which is about $60,000. For Peace United, the challenge is the UMC Apportionments and the UCC Our Church’s Wider Mission which totals about $10,700 and is due by the end of the year.
Hopefully, you are asking yourself, “What can I do to help?” One answer that might be achievable for everyone is to increase your giving each week for the rest of 2009. If each adult who comes to church would give $10 or more each week above their current giving it would go a long way to helping out. (If you make some estimates and do the math you will see that the additional giving won’t be a huge amount, but as my dad use to say, “It’s better than a spit in the eye.”)
The other thing you should consider and pray about is tithing. Are you giving 10% to the church? What is your percentage giving? (Divide what you give to the church in a year by your gross income. Anything less than .10 is not a tithe.) If what you give in 2009 is 4% (.04), can you move that up to 5% in 2010, 6% in 2011, etc., until you get to a tithe? In December’s newsletter, I write about tithing and what that has meant in my life. Until then, be a cheerful and generous giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Peace in Christ,