For many churches, this week begins the annual fall stewardship campaigns. All Christians are specifically asked to consider how to support their church through their time, talent, and treasures. How does this make you feel? We all understand that we must support the church to keep it healthy and serve the congregation this year and for years into the future. Let’s dive a little deeper into stewardship, serving God and serving others.
“There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.” 2 Corinthians 9:1-5
Paul is speaking to the church in Corinth. He celebrates the church’s past eagerness to help others. However due to some issues that caused division in the church, they have pulled back on a gift they had promised. Paul instructs them to put their differences aside and proceed with the gift. Giving financially is one way that we are called to be Christians. How about time and talent?
Life is full of unexpected problems and needs, large and small. Pay attention to moments when God calls you to action, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary the situation may be. See “disruptions” as invitations to share Christ’s love. There are instances that happen every day to seem to be a distraction from our to-do lists! We need to be always listening to the Holy Spirit in what is on God’s to-do list for us each day. Perhaps we call someone we have been thinking about. Perhaps we send them an email or text. We need to always be ready to set aside our personal to-do list to serve God with a much more important to-do-list!
I have a new perspective on the story of the Good Samaritan. Think about the priest in the story. He had a busy day ahead of him, he possibly had a funeral, wedding, family visit or some other official business to conduct that day. When he sees the man in the ditch all beat up, he walks on as he has a busy day and a full to-do list! Now if he had jumped in to help, the story of the Good Samaritan does not work 😉 But think about your day. Are you ready to jump in and respond to what we could consider a distraction and put aside your to-do list?
What about talents? As I began to write this post today, I got a call from the president of our homeowners’ association. He asked me to drive to the entrance of our neighborhood with 2 fire extinguishers! For those that know me, I love building big fires, I also have training to put them out! Yes, I have quite a few extinguishers in my garage, so I stopped writing and ran down to the entrance. We had an electrical fire in the junction box that controls our entrance lighting. When it caught on fire, it ignited all the dry leaves nearby as well! Upon assessing the issue and making sure I had the right extinguisher for an electrical fire, I proceeded to put it out. Putting out an electrical fire was not on my list today; however, I had the talent that was needed, and jumped in to help! Now the electricians have their work cut out for them to replace all the damaged circuits.
We are called to give to God, our church and to others. We are called to give joyfully and not grudgingly. The next time a distraction happens, listen to the holy spirit and jump in! Do not sit idly by and let others do what we were called to do!
“O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk
humbly with your God.” (Micah 6: 8)
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (James 2: 14 – 17)
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” (1 John 3: 18)
Ideas for Action: Practice one of the actions listed in this week’s description: Write a note, visit someone who lives alone, and/or
share a meal. Listen to the Holy Spirit, be ready to set your personal to-do list aside and jump in. Financially, physically, emotionally; whatever God needs us to do!