We’ve been talking in recent Session meetings about stewardship andgenerosity. We realize that we are to give to God with a generous spirit and to live within what the old hymn teaches:
We give Thee but Thine own, What e’er the gift may be,All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from Thee.
We also realize that for those of us who lie awake at night thinking about which bill to pay next and which one can be put off, moving towards making a faith commitment to the church can seem frightening, even im- possible. Our responsibility as a Session is not to make people feel bad, but to teach and encourage each of us to be responsible before God for all we do (and fail to do) with what we have been given (see Matthew 7:1 -12). Bearing witness to the joy to be found in trusting in God to provide all we need and encouraging practices of trust in how we then give of ourselves is our purpose. Often we learn these lessons young. What are some of your earliest memories of volunteering, sharing and giving?
My four older sisters, my younger brother and I grew up in a big old Victorian gingerbread house on Main Street in Urbana IL. The block was originally owned by one of the six Busey brothers (of the banking family) and he kept half the block for himself and sold the rest of the block for three more houses to be built there. The yards were large and the Busey house’s side yard was big enough for the 14 kids living on our block to play softball. It was afantastic place to run, hide, climb trees and play. The neighbor on the other corner was awidow and one of her sons lived there too. I now realize he probably drank and perhaps didn’tearn enough to live on his own and also pay his alimony, so he was back home. He was scary and mean and came outside only to smoke. When it snowed, we of course went out to shovelour walks and driveway, and we were also required to shovel all of our widowed neighbor’s walks too. After a particularly heavy snow, when Mr. Crabby walked out on the path I’d shov-eled to his garage without any thanks or even a glance, I thought my father needed to be re-minded that there was an able bodied person living next door, so there wasn’t a need for us tobe shoveling over there. He just looked at me and told me we are to take care of the widowsand orphans, and I’d be late for school if I didn’t get back outside and finish. Today I am so grateful for parents who taught me that there are ―right things‖ that we simply do withoutworrying about some notice or reward for it. When my neighbor cleaned my house so I could put it on the market after my husband died, through my tears I also realized we need to be willing to accept what others want to offer.
Watching the Hagues on Sunday have Owen and Bennett help sort and stack the Food on the Fourth offering on the food pantry shelves, I am thankful this day for faithful parents who taught me to do the right thing not for notice or reward, but because it is the right thing to do. It seems that many of us here know this lesson as well. Thank you for the amazing ways you have stepped up and helped us get the budget much closer to being balanced for 2019. We are deeply appreciative of how this helps us plan and lead.