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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Oct 27, 2014, 8:53 AM by Tracey Morris   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:38 AM ]

A century ago Harry Emerson Fosdick was one of the most important American theologians and pastors. He has never been one of my favorites, but the other day I read something by him that really speaks to the meaning of Stewardship, our theme for the first three Sundays in November. Christian Stewardship is about much more than money. It is also about ‘time, talent and treasure’ as you always hear at this time of year, and will hear about again from me in my November 2nd sermon. This quote by Fosdick, however, is primarily about money—what money is and what it can do. He wrote: "Money is a miraculous thing. It is your personal energy reduced to a portable form and endowed with power you yourself do not possess. It can go where you cannot go; speak languages you cannot speak; lift burdens you cannot touch with your fingers; save lives with which you cannot deal directly."

It is your ‘personal energy’ that earns money, says Fosdick. But then that money can put your ‘energy’ into places you cannot go, doing things you cannot do. Your offerings at church can go to Haiti and feed the hungry and educate children who would have no other opportunity. Your offerings can buy cheese and meat and bread for sandwiches for the homeless, along with providing a place in our church building for the area food shelf that feeds hundreds of your neighbors in need. Your offerings provide for a place for your children to hear about Jesus. Your offerings provide a place to worship and pastors and others to lead that worship. Your offerings provide for the ministers of our congregation who visit the sick and the shut-ins, baptize children, perform Christian weddings, visit the grieving, and provide a Christian funeral for our dead. Your offerings maintain this church building, a place for the many opportunities we have for Christian fellowship. Your offerings put your energy into the life of this congregation, along with the time you give, and the skills and talents you bring.

In his book The Treasure Principle, Randy Alcorn says the heart of Stewardship is to keep an ‘eternal perspective on all of our giving, saving, and spending decisions. He list five main principles:

    1. God owns everything. I am His money manager.
    2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
    3. Heaven, not Earth, is my home.
    4. Giving is the only antidote for materialism.
    5. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.

In the first three Sundays in November we will focus our thoughts on this important aspect of the Christian life. We will be reminded that the primary motivation for Christian Stewardship in all its forms is gratitude to God, the giver of all that we are and all that we have. As we do this, it is our hope that everyone will consider how they can serve our congregation in the coming year. We will not be using pledge cards. Your commitment is between you and the Lord.

Then, after the 10:45 worship service on November 16th , all the members of the congregation are invited to a meal in appreciation of your Stewardship of the past year.

As Paul wrote to the Philippians, I thank God for our partnership in the Gospel.
Pastor Leon