This Sunday is Consecration Sunday. It is the Sunday when we ask people to pledge what they will give for the next calendar year. Some pastors, especially in small churches feel uncomfortable talking about stewardship, especially money. When a pastor’s salary makes up a significant portion of the budget, it feels kind of like singing for your supper.(and you know how well I sing!) We compensate for this by over addressing other areas of stewardship, such as giving of your time or your talents, or we don’t talk about it all. When we do this, we do the congregation a grave disservice.
Yes, financial giving is needed to keep the church afloat. It cost money to keep the lights on, insure the building, clear the snow, pay the pastor, and pay many other bills. We also give money to mission partners, and have mission projects such as Mars Hill, SMA walk, Christmas in April, Art and Music Camp, and so many others. However, pledging isn’t just about supporting the church. Pledging isn’t just a financial decision, it is a spiritual one!
One of my favorite quotes when it comes to stewardship is from Billy Graham, “A checkbook is a theological document, it will tell you who and what you worship.” When we make a pledge to our church, we are proclaiming that church and God have a priority in our lives! Our money goes to places that are important to us. When we pledge to the church, we are saying the our faith is important to us.
When we pledge, we are also involving our faith in God in the decisions of our lives. When Heather and I try to decide if we can afford something, we take into account our mortgage, our car payment, utilities, student loan payments, and all of our monthly expenses. This includes our pledge. By pledging, we are involving our faith in God in any financial decision we make.
Finally, when we pledge, we recognize all that we have been blessed with by God. This is the root of stewardship, realizing that everything we have and are is because of God. God created us, God redeemed, and God sustains us. God has blessed us abundantly and we are called to give out of that abundance.
As we approach stewardship Sunday, spend some time in thoughtful prayer. Think and pray about the role God plays in your life, about what your checkbook says about your relationship with God, and about all that God has blessed you with.
1 Peter 4:10 “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”