While we as believers see prayer, worship and Scripture reading as important spiritual practices, how do we see stewardship? The reality is that for many of us stewardship is what happens in October around the annual pledge campaign to meet next year’s church budget.
However, Henri Nouwen asks the probing question, “Would we still give if there was no church budget? Yes, because it is part of our discipleship. Giving is about my need to give and not about the church’s need to receive.” Intriguing words, wouldn’t you say? We are called as Christians to be givers, to be a generous people seeking to serve and give and not just to receive. In short, we are called to be stewards of what God has given to us.
Being generous should become part of our natural response to the grace of God. People who live generously treat their giving as they would any other aspect of life that they value –with intentionality. During this past Lent we focused on a Rule of Life as a way to establish regular practices that can help us grow spiritually. How about making the following rule of life your rule for this year?
Pray daily – worship weekly – learn constantly – serve joyfully and give generously.
Good morning, I’m Earl Gordon and you may know me best, if you know me at all, as an usher in the back of the church. My wife Laurie and I are members of Trinity, along with our two sons Greg & Zach, who are grown now and live away from Newtown.
When Dan Bacon asked me to give this talk today, he asked if I could tell you what it was that made me support Trinity with my gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure. I was a little stumped at first, I couldn’t think what was so unique about me, my story or my time here to share with you. I always knew that Trinity had been so much a part of my life for the past 30 years and then I realized, that was probably part of the story. Why would Laurie and I be so closely connected to a place, for that long a period of time? The answer is community.
Community that was supportive as our family grew up here. We cherish the fact that everyone helped to raise our boys and shape them in ways that are subtle and not always seen, but manifest themselves from time to time. Clergy, confirmation mentors, church school teachers, friends, other youth have all been instrumental in supporting what we have tried to do to raise the boys and it has had lasting impacts on them.
Community has been important to Laurie and I as well. One of the first and lasting memories from Trinity was our marriage preparation or lessons. And at the end of the lessons, we were blessed to find another couple that was willing to step forward as our marriage sponsors. A couple, as time would reveal, that took their commitment so seriously that we have an ongoing relationship with them today, even though they live away from Newtown. And during all those years, they have been intentional and found time to celebrate with us our anniversary over the past 29 years and even hosted our renewal of vows ceremony 5 years ago.
Our support of Trinity in Time and Talent was easier for us to do: ushers, church school teachers, café helpers, pastoral care meal makers, confirmation mentors, etc. and Laurie has been actively involved in more formal ways, such as vestry, heading the youth program, rector search and now the Visioning team. But the money or Treasure piece was a slower process for us to grasp, however over time, we have come to value our ability to contribute financially and we both have come to feel good about what we do as a way to honor our commitment to God as well as to this physical place. A recognition in some measure for the gift of community; giving back for all we have received.
So as we turn our attention to stewardship, take a moment to reflect on what it is that you value and how you can show that in terms of what you can offer back to be a part of the ongoing community here at Trinity Church.