February 10, 2022 Devotion
by Kevin Hart
Rosemary and I have been abundantly blessed by God. We’ve come to realize that everything we are, everything we have, and the things we can do, are all gifts from God. What we as Christians do with those gifts is up to us. When we use those gifts as an act of love to serve God and our fellow man, in the church that’s called stewardship.
Periodically, Elim will raise awareness about stewardship within the congregation. That time has come around again, and President Laine asked that I help organize the effort. It will be a brief effort, just four weeks. Each week, we’ll have a testimony from someone at Elim, telling why it is that they give, and why they fill out a commitment card about their giving. The commitment card is our pledge to God of what we will give. At the end of the month, Elim will ask each of you to submit a commitment card of your own. That card will ask for you to prayerfully consider what you can lovingly give to God this upcoming year. It will ask you to commit your time, talent, and treasure.
There are many ways to give of your time and talents. I find that it’s easiest, and most rewarding, to give in an area that resonates with your personality and your interests.
For example, Rosemary, as a mechanical engineer, loves to build things. So, she will pledge to give of her time and talents in making improvements to the physical church. She volunteered to be part of the facilities committee, so she can help improve our campus and keep it operating well. As a people person, she also likes to see our church family thrive. That’s why she has participated in the transition team so that we can get a great leader for this wonderful congregation. Because she’s also tech savvy, she’s started to volunteer to relieve Andy, Kevin, and Paul in their amazing work producing services for Elim. (By the way, that’s Andy, Kevin, and Paul using their technology gifts to give back to God.) By giving in areas that resonate with her, Rosemary both gives of herself and receives personal satisfaction through her work for the church.
In terms of treasures, Rosemary and I were blessed to not be much financially impacted by covid. Therefore, we will be increasing our monthly financial contribution, which will help Elim carry out our missions in the community, pay for our wonderful pastor and staff, heat, light, insure and fix the buildings, all the worldly things required to make a church go.
What you chose to give to God is between you and God but allow me to stimulate some ideas. Maybe you like to garden, or administer communion to the congregation, or welcome new members, or, if you’re great with children, to help out with our communion kids group. Maybe you like to swing a hammer, or have a gift for administration, or can play a musical instrument and sing. Maybe you like to bake, or craft, or can make a great cup of coffee. All are God-given gifts. All would be welcome for you to pledge to give to the church.
Now, this is a very mature congregation in a Christian sense. At Elim, we have a long history of giving of ourselves to God, to our community, and to the world. In fact, it’s in our very Mission Statement.
Living in God's love, it is Elim's mission to invite all people to grow in God and to work together to heal and transform the community, in Jesus' name.
In fulfilling that mission, we give of our time, talents, and treasures, as we invite, work, heal and transform.
As a relatively new member of Elim, it’s with some trepidation that I talk to you all about Stewardship. Honestly, who wants to tell members like Len and Ruth Svinth about giving of themselves? The two of them could write a book on the subject. It’s similar with so many of you in this congregation. It’s a congregation full of giving people.
Still, evaluating our stewardship is an act that we do throughout our whole Christian lives, and a sign of love to God, regardless of who we are, or what our pathway has been to get here today. That’s why I’m okay to help with this effort, talking to a very amazing congregation, about giving of ourselves.
Our stewardship theme is ‘Generous Hearts’, since giving of yourself is very much an act of love and generosity in service to God. Our campaign Bible passage is 1 Timothy 6:18.
“Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”
I find the passage before and after help me to place this passage in context.
"Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life."
So, I invite you to experience true life. Love and Give Generously from your Generous Heart. And this month, prayerfully consider the gifts God has given you, decide what you wish to give back to God, fill out the stewardship commitment card, and join with this congregation in giving of yourself. In doing so, you will be showing your love to God by giving back to him from the abundance with which He has blessed you.
In Christ’s Love,