From the Pastor, Rev. Julie Sterling
(Reprinted form the Nov. 2018 “The Bridge”)
Stewardship Sunday is just around the corner. Time to make plans and request
commitments for the coming year. As we prayerfully pull together our church budget for
2019, I wonder what blessings God has in store for our church. How will God warm our hearts
to new ministries? How will God call us torespond to our community? Most important,
how will God help us grow in faith and commitment as individuals as well as community. Active stewardship is more than just meeting the budget for the year. It is a response to the word of God. By giving back in faith and love, our perception of our place in this world changes. To quote Andrew Dhuse, “God’s will is not an itinerary, but an attitude”.
Every year I prepare for Stewardship by selecting a stewardship themed study or reading
to use along with my daily devotion. This year I’ve chosen the book “Treasures of the
Transformed Life” by John Ed Mathison. In the introduction, Mathison focuses on a Bible story
from Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine
pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” In
the story, the merchant was actively looking for his treasure. We too actively look for things we desire. The lesson is clear. As people of faith the true treasure is the kingdom of God.
How do we embrace active stewardship? Is it something that we can accomplish filling out
our pledge card on Stewardship Sunday or is it something more? If so, what can we do
throughout the year to become healthier stewards? Also, how do we change our perspective on giving so stewardship talk is more inviting?
During our October Presbytery meeting, Rev. Deborah Rexrode, Associate GeneralPresbyter and Stated Clerk for Stewardship, Presbytery of the James shared a message in worship titled “Called to Steward God’s Church.” In her sermon she emphasized stewardship as a part of active ministry that we ,should engage with throughout the year. She also reminded us that active stewardship involves prayer and study, community building and fellowship, along with personal commitment in response to our life with God. Good stewardship is transformative. When we actively search for the treasures of the kingdom, we find ourselves growing as Christians and becoming closer to God. Eleanor Powell sums up good stewardship as such:“What we are is God’s gift to us. What we
become is our gift to God.” Friends, let us join on this journey of stewardship together. The discipline of giving is an essential part in our life with God. We are called as Christians to use or time, talents, and tithes to assist God in the work of the church. Ask what you can faithfully do to give of yourself this year.
Any gift is a blessing! To quote Woody Allen, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
Rev. Julie Sterling