Stewardship 2016 - Cultivating a Gratitude Attitude
Dear members and friends of Neighborhood Congregational Church,
Each year in the fall, we consider the financial vision and goals of our congregation in anticipation of proposing and adopting a budget for the ensuing year. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist faith, invites Christ’s followers to: “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” Wesley challenges us to develop a vocation of Christian stewardship as we participate with Christ in caring for what God has entrusted to us. It is an outward, active expression of our gratitude to a generous God.
Our culture has a limiting understanding of gratitude. We rightly thank God and one another for material goods, assistance and support, and for the comforts that have either been generously and lovingly given to us, or that we have acquired by the opportunity and freedom to use our own efforts. Gratitude is certainly that, but it is also much more. In the Bible, gratitude is not a destination, but a navigational aid on the journey of life.
In Luke’s Gospel we are told, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” (12:48b). These warnings haunt me. They declare that God’s gifts are not seeds to be wasted and thrown onto hard, dry ground to burn-up in the sun. Nor, as we hear in the parable of the talents, are they to be stored away for our own use and security on another day. While God freely bestows gifts on us, there is to be an accounting for their use. The more we choose to use them, the more God’s blessings flow. God gives us the skills and wherewithal to make this so, but the decision is ours.
Among the things I love about our congregation are the many ways I see us seeking to live lives of gratitude. We bind together to provide a safe and welcoming place for Christian worship filled with outstanding music, teaching, and fellowship. Many work to see that those less fortunate have housing, clothes, medicine, and emotional support in difficult times, both here and abroad. In doing these things for the least and the last, we honor Christ and show our gratitude to God.
As we consider our pledges for the coming year—pledges of money, skills, energy, prayers and time—let us consider the many ways our church allows to us fulfill our stewardship vocation. The financial support we provide is directed toward providing for the physical, administrative, teaching, and leadership needs of our community of faith so that we can be equipped to serve God in powerful ways. Each gift we give, no matter the size, is valuable to God and help’s NCC bring the kingdom of God to our community.
On behalf of your church leadership, I invite you to prayerfully consider the commitment card for your support of our church and its ministry in 2016. Your commitment cards may be placed in the offering plate during Sunday worship or mailed to the church office.
Rev. B. J. Beu
Click HERE for downloadable version of this letter
Click HERE for downloadable commitment card