6/6: Clergy Message

A message from The Rev. Dan Kline:

I was sitting in a class recently at Villanova University’s School of Business and the professor asked a question: “What do you think of when you hear the word stewardship?” All of us scrambled to put our word associations into the Zoom chat. I wonder what word associations would come up if we asked that same question at St. Paul’s?

I’ll venture a guess. Many of us think of the annual stewardship campaign in the Fall that wraps up around St. Paul’s day in late January. We think about our pledge cards and phone calls from the Stewardship Committee. We think about keeping our church in the black instead of the red. We think about writing checks and putting our credit card numbers into the church giving platform on our website (which will be getting updated this week!).

While all of those pieces are important, we can get stuck focusing on the details. Stewardship is much broader than those mental images we associate with the term. According to the United Church of Christ, “Being a steward means living with trust in God’s generosity and a responsible tending of that which God has entrusted to us. It also means the fair, just, and righteous sharing of resources with others.”

Stewardship isn’t just a few months a year (which is why our Stewardship Committee has been meeting year round this year!). It isn’t a piece of paper you write your “church bill” on for the year. It’s a way of life that’s fundamental to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It impacts every aspect of our life together as one small manifestation of the global and cosmic Body of Christ. It’s a frame of mind, as well as an action. It’s a life filled with God’s gracious generosity that spills over into everyone we come into contact with. It’s a life of outreach and compassion and solidarity with the poor, as well as respecting the dignity of others. It’s a life that wants to give thanksgiving back to God, reciprocal generosity to the Giver of all good things (James 1:17).

We’re going to be doing a special Q & A with Pat Voigt and the Planned Giving Committee during our Adult Education Hour at 10:00AM this Sunday. They’re going to share about how a life of stewardship can have an impact even beyond the grave. It’s amazing to think about how our own careful management of resources can not only impact our present community, but this same community far into the future. We can be a part of God’s gracious generosity to our children, our children’s children, and they’re children, to the thousandth generation (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Next week, we’re going to have a Q & A with Bob Smith about the restart of Stephen Ministry here at the parish. We’re going to hear about how we as a community can steward the most vulnerable among us during times of crisis. We’re going to learn about how we can take care of one another when we’re hurting.

Both of these educational offerings give us a window into the bigger picture around stewardship. I hope you take advantage of these opportunities to learn, be stretched, and participate in the joy of God’s wonderful generosity.