The season of giving thanks is upon us or at least that is what our culture tells us. While this time of year is special and should be enjoyed, we should also be continually giving thanks to God for all things in our lives. The General Thanksgiving from Morning Prayer says,
We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ . . .That with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with out lips, but in our lives by giving up ourselves to your service . . . (BCP 101)
This time of year is one of family gatherings, cooler weather, football, and many other blessings. It is also the time of year that we talk most about stewardship. While stewardship should be a year-round topic (and we are working towards that) this time of planning budgets and programs is often the focal point. You will soon be hearing from our Vestry and Stewardship Committee about this upcoming year’s financial needs.
As you hear the information and prayerfully consider your financial giving to St. Theodore’s this year, remember that this act is sacramental. The time-honored tradition of a pledge is deeply connected to our Eucharistic act of giving thanks to God for “All the blessings of this life”. We are giving back to God out of the abundance of what has been graciously provided to us.
I read the following quote and wrote it down without recording who its author was, but it is nonetheless a truth about financial giving.
Stewardship is only a part of viewing money as a spiritual practice. However, if we think of it as only that, we will find that once we feel comfortable with our stewardship (giving) level, we will be tempted to stop there rather than dig deeper to understand how our relationship with money impacts our souls. If we reduce money as a spiritual practice to faithful stewardship, we may also miss out on the nuances of its blessing and miracle in life. (Unknown)
It is easy to view the spiritual practice of giving to the Church — or anywhere else for that matter—as a duty or like paying any other bill. However, spiritual giving is much more than that. Spiritual giving is a reflection of our understanding of generosity and thankfulness. It is about the act of giving itself rather than the amount in dollars and cents.
You may have heard it said that, “Generosity begets generosity”, and I believe that is true also of giving thanks. The act of giving out of generosity and thankfulness enlivens our ability and understanding of what it means to be thankful and generous with the freedom, love, and grace God has bestowed upon us. Besides that—and my guess is that each of you knows this—when we give, we feel good about it. Think about a time you have given a gift, no strings attached, to either help someone or simply because… The joy that comes from that act is the same joy we feel when we give back to God.
My brothers and sisters, I am grateful for your presence and participation at St. Theodore’s. We welcome and honor your commitments to God’s mission and the spreading of The Gospel, and I give thanks to God for each one of you!
Fr. Will ✝