Are you in the middle of stewardship season? It’s easy to feel like the stewardship campaign is something to get through. We can sigh with relief when it’s over (if the figures come in all right). When I was a local church pastor, I often felt this way.
Here’s another view: stewardship is a process we can celebrate rather than viewing as a grim duty. And it has a real impact on people. At a stewardship meeting at my church recently, our committee chair offered as a celebration a stewardship sermon he had heard in the 1950s, for a special fund-raising campaign. The pastor, a fisherman, spoke about going fishing on the Columbia River, when the captain said, “The time is not right, the tide is not right,” and they had to go back. At the conclusion of the sermon, the pastor said, “The time is right, the tide is right.” The entire campaign was subscribed on one Sunday. I was stunned that he could still remember it, but it brought home to me the impact that preachers can have.
Here are five things to celebrate about financial stewardship:
1. We have the chance to deal from the pulpit with some of the most important biblical texts, those addressing our relationship with money.
2. We get to think about our own giving and ask others to think about theirs.
3. We have the opportunity to work on our anxiety about asking people for money and get a little better at it this year.
4. The annual campaign is time-limited. (The sense of relief is not completely misplaced!)
5. We have the privilege of helping people think about money in relation to their faith.
What might you add to this list? What do you celebrate about stewardship? What would you like to celebrate?