As we enter the month of October, our attention turns towards stewardship, as we gather for Pledge Sunday on October 25. The word that always comes to mind for stewardship is gratitude. When we talk about the time, talent, and resources of the church, the essential word is always gratitude.
We are grateful for the commitment and generosity of the congregation. We are, of course, thankful for the ministries provided by the church, including the Jail Ministry, Loaves and Fishes, Conversational English, Caring Hands, Feeding Program at Sparkman, Brotherhood, Brazil Mission Trip, and others. We are thankful for the ministry of Sunday school, youth group, children’s programs, college students, and others. Our cup runneth over when we talk about the music ministry and worship, caregiving and crisis ministry, sacred study and discipleship. We are grateful to support the Community Market, Habitat for Humanity, The Big House, Passport, Christian Women Job Corps, and other partnerships. It gets difficult to start making these lists because we are bound to leave off something that is of great importance.
Since we are thankful for these ministries and others, we are grateful for the commitment and generosity of the congregation. The time, talent, and resources of the church make these things possible, but more than that. We are also thankful for how this commitment and generosity shapes who we are. We watch it happen to the disciples. After Jesus says, “Follow me,” the disciples are shaped by the road to come. The further down the journey they go, listening and learning, walking and following, the more they are shaped and changed. Each small moment of commitment becomes a part of who they are.
We see in them how our commitment and generosity partner with the grace of God, as a response to God’s goodness. Grace invites our gratitude. Grace begs our curiosity. Grace holds open the door to discovery, engaging life in new ways. One way we live into such grace is through a common life with others, through the shared journey of faith.
The shared journey is another reason we are grateful for the commitment and generosity of the church, not only because of the ministries made possible through them, but also because it represents the grace that brings us together. We are grateful for the community we share because of the commitment we share. It is the journey that shapes us in the name of Christ and by the grace of God. Each small moment of commitment becomes a part of who we are. So the word that comes to mind is always gratitude.