Minute for Stewardship – Brent Mullis

Our 2018 Stewardship season has begun!  Dedication Sunday was yesterday, October 8th.  Thank you for prayerfully considering your pledge to the work of our church!

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Good morning…and Happy Dedication Sunday!    It’s hard to believe that a month has flown by since I was up here on Rally Day to let you know that our fall stewardship campaign would be starting up.  And yet here we are.  Dedication Sunday.  The once-a-year day that we set aside to show our commitment to be faithful Stewards of God’s gifts all year long.   In the simplest view, it’s the day that we bring our pledge forms forward.  

As your Stewardship Ministry Team chair, I must say that this is a very important part of our season of focus!  But this day is more than that.   It’s an opportunity to celebrate what we do all year long, and do quite well, I might add.  Just look at all the leaves on the trees in the Narthex and Cloister and you’ll see the large number and variety of programs and activities and relationships that we support throughout the year – with our money, yes, but also with our passion and dedication.

Today I want to tell you of an experience that I had just this last Sunday.

Before worship last week I was coming up the stairs from the Cloister and I met up with one of the generation who has, well, grown much deeper roots and many more branches than I have.  And she said something that struck me as beautiful and appropriate and just for me on that day.   God works that way, you know; you’re trying to figure out something profound to say on the last week of a campaign, sure that everyone’s good and tired of the tree analogy by now… and then the unintended genius one-liner falls right there in front of you…

Before I tell you what she said, though, I want to describe what she would have seen from her vantage point:

As she stood at the top of the stairs, she would have easily seen one of the youth with a walker on one arm and a nearly nonagenarian of no familial relation on the other arm coming up the steps one at a time. 

She would have seen two families with young children coming up the stairs from their Sunday School classes in the newly renovated Foundation Hall. 

To the left she’d have seen three members standing outside of the Parlor comparing their respective projects for the Day of Discipleship the day before. 

She’d have seen a newer member and an older member coming out of the administration building talking about the new Welcome Area and the fresh paint and about the new location of the History Boards in the newly created Heritage Room in room 113.

She’d have noticed two families placing leaves onto the campaign trees while one older gentleman stood reading the leaves, curious to see what most moved each of his Trinity family members.  

There’d have been two members of the Capital Campaign Construction Ministry Team, likely giving each other a well-deserved ‘fist-bump’ as they pointed out across the memorial garden to the progress on the new Columbarium. 

And there’d have been a 4 year old visiting ‘her’ flower that is destined to be shared with a homebound member this next week.

And what this member said was this: “I love to see everyone enjoying each other so much”.   Not “Boy, look at all of that activity”, or “Goodness, there’s a lot going on”, or “Hey, who’s responsible for watering those mums, anyway?”.  But, “Look at how much these people enjoy being a Christian family”.  

And when you look around, she’s absolutely right.  We’re at the tasks of the church, but in what we do, there’s kindness and love and genuine appreciation of the time we get to spend with one another.  We are joyfully at the work of being the church.  And isn’t that part of our Stewardship?  To be joyful givers – of our time and energy, and our care and concern, and our smiles and handshakes, just as we are of our financial wealth?  And when our relationship with each other is so strong, how could we help but be joyful movers of God’s love outside of our church walls to those we meet? 

Now back to those pledge forms…today we look forward to coming up together during the offertory.   We could just drop our forms in the plate as it came past, but that misses the point.  We walk together, and God walks with us, as Grace pointed out last week, to bring our whole selves, not just our pieces of paper.  I hope that everyone who is able will make the walk today – even if you forgot your pledge form – you can turn it in this week –please!  Today, when we come forward together, we are rededicating ourselves to being joyful Stewards of all of God’s gifts to us this year – our treasure and our time and our smiles and handshakes.

Thank you.

Brent