Greetings from the Moderator OCTOBER 2019
The Spirituality of Stewardship
Pumpkin spice, harvest festivals and Epcot’s International Food and Wine festival make us aware that Fall is in the air in Central Florida. Budget preparation, goal setting and mission planning inform us that Stewardship season is in the air in the Church.
Stewardship season has long been thought of as the time of year when congregations, ministries and governing bodies turn their attention toward finding funding streams to finance the work of God’s kingdom here on earth. During this season, special campaigns promote the mission of the ministry; appeals are made that encourage giving to help sustain the programs of the church; stories that tell how our gifts have touched people’s lives tug our hearts; and pledge cards are packed in pews beckoning people of faith to put their dollars to good use. When viewed from this perspective alone, stewardship might be heard as a financial term for raising money instead of as a spiritual word that should help govern our lives.
Stewardship is the grateful reply of the people of God in response to the goodness of God in our lives. Truly, God has blessed us tremendously. God has gifted us with material possessions, financial resources, community connections, family and friends, the air we breathe, the forgiveness of sins, the Spirit who empowers and spiritual gifts that, when employed, can change the world. The psalmist asked in Psalm 116:12, “What can I offer the Lord for all God has done for me? The Mississippi Mass Choir sang a song that asked,
“What shall I render unto the Lord for all of God’s goodness?
What shall I render unto the Lord for all God’s mercy and grace?”
The choir responds:
“I'm giving my life to Jesus; everything, everything.”
Everything…time, talent, treasure, the entirety of one’s life, should be given in grateful response to God. If we would all give a portion of what God has given to us, God will be praised, people (including us) will be blessed, and needs will be met.
During this stewardship season, I encourage us all, individually and congregationally, to ponder the blessings we have received along with the call of God on our lives as we contemplate how we will respond with the gifts that God has given. I challenge each of us to see stewardship first, as a spiritual matter, and to allow our finances to follow. May it be so.
Peace and Blessings,
Reverend Erika Rembert Smith