Finding our way through priorities …
This year, St. Margaret’s has been Walking the Way through our Stewardship Season, praying on what giving means to us, why we give, and how our giving shapes our relationship with God and our church. Below is a guest post from parishioner Kimberly Irvine on why she is pledging this year, and how the Holy Spirit is moving in her on her Walk. I hope you enjoy her words.
Writing this blog post was not an easy exercise for me. My desire to find the exact words to express to you why stewardship and pledging are vital to our church, was keeping from saying what is my heart.
The fact is I’m truly grateful to God for allowing me to be part of this community of faith. St. Margaret’s has always been for me, a place filled with faith, joy, and love. I believe in the good work our church is doing. I see God’s love at work in our church all the time.
Part of me is also worried because the church budget is projecting that in 2015 our church will be operating at a deficit again. The funds our church raises through pledges, and other fund raising activities, will not generate enough revenue to cover the operating expenses of our church. This surprises me because as a parish, I believe we are all very blessed, we are generous when asked to support special initiatives, and we share a common desire to be part of this extraordinary community.
Learning of the church’s deficit, also makes me begin to question whether or not I’m giving my fair share to our church. God has given generously to me; am I giving back as generously as I should? This is not an easy question to answer. We all worry about money. We need to pay our mortgages, and other bills. We also want to go on vacations and have nice things. I’m remembering part of sermon we heard earlier this month, where we were reminded that all we have comes from God. Everything we have is not ours; it is all God’s, and we must give back to God what is God’s. Can we prioritize and give to God first?
Since I believe strongly in the mission and vision of our church,I feel responsible to use the resources God has given me to financially support the church. I make a financial commitment to St. Margaret’s because I really want our church to thrive and grow. I want to see the good work of our church continue to expand in our community and the world. This year I plan to increase my pledge, and try to be more intentional about giving to God first. I pray that all parishioners of St. Margaret’s can make similar commitments in support of our church.
We are united in faith; let’s also be united in contributing financially to our church.
I found this prayer from this year’s stewardship bulletin very meaningful:
Gracious God, giver of all we have and hold; grant the people of this church a deep and abiding awareness that all things come from you – our health, our incomes, our jobs, our talents and our generous impulse. Send your Holy Spirit to help us as we swim against the rising tides of materialism, envy, individualism and greed I our culture. When we are tempted to think of money as a private matter, remind us that you have asked for part of what we are given, to be returned to you as a symbol of our awareness that you give all we have. And finally, assist us as we help each other to embrace the grace of giving, for you are the lover of our souls and call us to nothing less than transformation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Respectfully submitted by Kim Irvine