“All they want is my money.”
Have you heard those words? Perhaps you have even uttered them. Well, I have good news for you. Money is not all we want! In fact, money is sometimes the easiest ask that the Church makes. Money is needed to provide a sacred place to worship, to meet the needs of others, to fund ministry, and to provide for other sacred work. But signing a check only takes a moment. The other things we ask require a deeper commitment of time, mind, and energy.
I will say upfront that I am plagiarizing the commitment asked in the United Methodist Church: “Will you support this church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service?” This is what we are asking in this season of stewardship. Will you fully commit yourself to pray, to dutifully attend and participate in worship, to faithfully support the work of the Church financially, and to commit your time and energies to service?
This commitment is to God and to one another. We have been called into a covenant commitment with every member of Christ’s Church but especially within this local congregation. Those who love one another will pray for one another. Pray for needs; pray in thanksgiving; pray for direction; pray for our mission together. Pray each day. And pray for me, that I may be found faithful.
Each person is to take seriously that worship is both privilege and duty to God. Every Sunday is a Day of Obligation as also are Ascension Day, All Saints Day, and Christmas. But our participation in worship is also our commitment to one another and to the mission of the Church. Our worship is deeper where everyone gathers taking their commitment seriously. It also provides greater opportunity to minister to our visitors.
We are asked to give as an act of faith. What holds our heart holds our pocketbook. We believe tithing to be a biblical model. The ministry of our Diocese is provided by the tithe of each congregation. Tithing may be new to you but it is a spiritual discipline. Everyone is encouraged to tithe (or at least make a full percent increase toward a tithe if you are not already doing so). Gifts are what we give over our tithe. Pray, and pledge what you will give.
The hardest ask is not money—it is service. Our Christian walk is not a mind game, it is love expressed in heart, mind, soul, and strength. The scriptures tell us that we are all given specific spiritual gifts to serve a specific vocation. Put scripture into blood and sweat.
Pray! What commitment is the Lord asking of you?