Why am I calling October the season for giving? Isn’t that more appropriate for December and the Advent/Christmas season? I’m thinking about October for this theme because it is the time of year we often think about our financial stewardship. On Sunday November 22, we will be asked to make our financial pledges to St. George’s for 2016. During October, we have the opportunity to think about our personal stewardship and our commitment to St. George’s.
The basic theology of stewardship is that everything we have is a gift of God, on loan to us temporarily as stewards. We give of ourselves to others out of thanksgiving to God. We also are accountable to God for how we use the gifts God has given us. In my personal prayer time, I often imagine God telling me how much I am loved and encouraging me to enjoy the gifts I have received and to use them to help other people. For me, this affirms that gifts are to be enjoyed and shared.
We are a parish which has a tremendous amount of shared ministry. So many people give of their time and talents for the ministries of our parish. We are not a church where a few do all the work while everyone else watches! We have a way of life where many participate in all kinds of ways. We all have time and personal gifts and talents which we can share with the congregation, as well as with the larger world around us through family, work, and community organizations.
We also have money as a gift from God. We appropriately use most of our money to support our own families, and we also give some money for others. Financial stewardship is the way we approach this gift of money and financial resources. We each have different circumstances in our personal finances, and God is very aware of this. In our financial stewardship, we give away a proportion of our income to help others, especially through the local church community. Doing this in a regular, disciplined way is a great help to our parish and also helps free each of us from the power of money. Letting go of some of our money regularly for God’s work is a very liberating experience!
In this October “season for giving,” I encourage us to consider what financial gifts we have received from God and how we might both enjoy them and share them with others.