As we journey through another season of stewardship at BPC, the Session and I invite you to reflect on this statement:
Stewardship is not about the need of the church to receive; it is about our need to give.
That’s the joyful need of our spirits (not the obligated need of our consciences!) to give in thanks to God. Stewardship is first of all a spiritual matter, about our relationship with God and God’s creation. Stewardship recognizes that all we are and all that is around us are God’s giving; to be in a relationship with such a God involves our care of creation, our responsibility as citizens, our balance of our time and nurture of our families, and yes, our financial giving to church and beyond. That’s the way to true abundance, deeper mutuality with God.
Here’s something else to ponder:
In a new study called Passing the Plate, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith say that Protestant Christians, on average, give 1.8 percent of their after-tax income to the church. They point out that if American Christians were more serious about giving, the impact would be amazing. If regular church attenders or those who describe themselves as “strong” or “very strong” Christians tithed (meaning, gave 10% of after-tax income), that would provide an extra $46 billion a year. They go on to say:
With that, we could basically end poverty, eliminate diseases such as malaria, feed and house and clothe the world’s refugees, provide five million microloans, and have a lot left over.
In other words, we could most definitely change the world.
Maybe it’s not surprising that Jesus talked more about money, and our relationship to it, than just about anything else. Something more to think about in this season of stewardship.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing more about stewardship, and its relationship to our faith, and abundant living (even in times that can be hard). And yes, also about the ministry and mission of BPC, and the fellowship and service we care deeply about.
On Sunday, November 22, we will celebrate our annual “harvest of offerings,” including our pledges of money, time and talents for the coming year, and bring Thanksgiving food donations for the Burlington pantry.