I have always loved cycling through the seasons of the Christian year, and we are approaching the great transition. On one hand, the Christian year has just three more Sundays. The whole year culminates with Christ the King Sunday on November 24, when we celebrate our once and future King. At the same time, we are planning for the new Christian year, beginning with the four weeks of Advent and, of course Christmas, when we celebrate the beginning of the story with the birth of the Christ child.
At the same time, we have important administrative responsibilities. Over the next several weeks, we need to identify candidates for positions on the vestry. And we have to begin constructing a budget. That means we are in stewardship season.
At one level, stewardship makes me a little uncomfortable. I don’t like asking people for money. That is awkward since I also don’t like not having enough money!
But our wonderful stewardship chair always helps me. He reminds me that stewardship is part of our Christian life. The financial commitments that people make are offered up to God in thanksgiving for the blessings they have received. Giving is a spiritual practice. Indeed, in our materialistic culture, it is one of the most important spiritual practices! More than we should, contemporary Americans tend to define value in terms of dollars and cents. So we need to ask ourselves, what is the dollar value of our relationship with God?
The question is absurd, of course. But even contemplating it for a moment puts my own stewardship decision in perspective. I owe God everything. That is the proper starting point for my prayerful reflection on my own financial commitment to Saint David’s for next year. As long as I can remember that, stewardship ceases to be awkward and becomes genuinely rewarding.