A Note From Pastor Laura
Dear Friends, "All you've done lately is preach about giving."
"We had a ‘Vision Campaign,’ but it all came down to wanting us to give more."
"If it’s going to cost more money, we are against it!"
These are just a few of the comments pastors hear while initiating a Stewardship Campaign or as Gary Ealy says, "while working with their congregations in generosity development." I might agree, if I was not thoroughly convinced that living generously is both a reflection of our generous creator and inextricably tied to advancing God’s kingdom on earth. The following modern adaptation of one of Jesus’ parables (Luke 19:11-27) helps illustrate the point.
The owner of “Let’s Play Sports” called his three division managers in for an important meeting. He was going on an overseas business trip for six months. He gave each of them $1,000,000 and told them to invest it for company growth. When the owner returned, he called each manager into his office to get a report. The first came in and said, “I made an agreement with Nixie Sports to promote their new Lion Golf Club line. As a result, the $1M investment has returned $10M in sales.” The owner was thrilled and promoted the man to Vice President over ten states. He had used the owner’s money to substantially advance his business. The second man reported he made a deal with the Catfish Pro Shop. He had recommended an adaptation to fishing rods that brought tremendous excitement. As a result, the $1M grew into $5M. Again the owner was totally impressed and promoted the manager to Vice President over five states. Finally, the third manager reported, “I didn’t want to make a mistake so I put your $1M into my lockbox to keep it safe. Here it is for you to use as you wish.” The owner was furious. He told the manager, “My money was placed into your care to GROW my business, not keep it where it is. ou’re fired! Get your possessions out of your office and don’t expect a recommendation from me for your next job.” The fired manager went away sorrowfully. The $1M he returned was given to the first manager to use to invest in the company. Some employees complained that the owner gave the $1M to the one who had the most already. The owner replied, “The one who best invests my money will have more, but the one who does not invest in my company will lose what he has.”[i]
An important truth found here is that God has already entrusted our churches with the financial resources to do the work of the church. Spiritual development is the challenge we, as members, fail to embrace - the idea that God has placed these resources in our hands not for our benefit, but for the purpose of expanding God’s work here on earth. Building God's Kingdom (here on earth, as it is in heaven) requires us to be courageous enough to purposefully invest God’s money in God’s work.
One way to begin to financially invest more purposefully and courageously in building the Kingdom is to e-tithe or give electronically. It is safe and easy. The forms are on the table in the back of the sanctuary. Attach a voided check and Tom Hoover, our Treasurer, will take care of the rest. No more checks. No more forgotten envelopes. No more struggling to "catch up" when returning after missed weeks of worship due to vacations, emergencies, work obligations, and so forth.
Another easy way to financially investing in the Kingdom with more intentionality, is to purchase "gift cards" from the church from the businesses you regularly patronize. For example, they are available for local grocery stores, restaurants, and retail stores. Some businesses will "reimburse" Starview up to 10% of your purchase! Easy and with no extra cost to you.
These are just two readily easy AND recommended ways, of many, for you to further develop your spirit of generosity and to further the Kingdom through financial giving at Starview UCC.
Additionally, I have some homework for you. Take a look at the following verses. Pray over them. Take notes. Pray over them again. Listen for God's voice. Pray over them again. Take action.
- My stuff is not really mine, but belongs to God. – Psalm 24:1
- My use of God’s resources shows who owns my heart. – Matthew 6:19-24; 2 Corinthians 8:24
- Those whose hearts are fully committed to God’s plans will seek to use the resources entrusted into their care to further God’s purposes. Kingdom growth comes first in the Christian’s heart. Matthew 6:33
Preparing to get financially creative and have some generosity fun this summer!
[i] Ealy, Gary. "It's All About Money." Horizons Stewardship Team. 18 April 2016.