The Church is here to meet our needs. In a place like St. John’s, that is readily apparent. The worship services are the very best that can be provided. Some say the space is the most beautiful nave and sanctuary they have ever been in. I find myself measuring even the greatest of cathedrals by what I have grown so accustomed to right here every Sunday. There may be better music programs in the largest of churches in the largest of cities but ours is right there with them. The sermons you hear, the classes that are available to you, the spiritual messages sent to you weekly, are sound and valuable. Our Children’s and Youth Programs are the best around. We miss some things but when you’re sick, the pastoral care provided is generous. If you’re in a crisis, a phone call will bring help. If you need direction in your prayer life, St. John’s is where you will turn. When someone asks where your church home is, don’t you light up a little when you tell them St. John’s?
There is one area where St. John’s may fall a little short. We are so focused on meeting the needs of parishioners that we are not very good at reminding you of your part in meeting needs. So much is provided for us that it’s easy for us to think that what we have to offer isn’t all that important. The parish system is good at giving but maybe we need to get a little better at receiving and making sure you know that what you give is vital to the life of the parish. The church is good at helping. But the church needs your help too.
One of the ways we meet your needs is in asking you to give of yourself. As we teach you to give, you grow into the image of Christ. If you’re just taking all the time, you are far from the kingdom, far from the image of Christ who gave so fully of himself. When we ask you to give of yourself, we are offering you yet another gift. If you want to become a better person, you need to give of yourself, pure and simple.
The church asks us all to give of ourselves financially, to make a real sacrifice, to identify the percentage of our resources that we are giving, and challenges us to give 10% of our income to God’s work in the world. A promise comes with that request: as we make such a commitment and live into it, we become more spiritually whole. We give of our money and our hearts expand. We know more of the giving nature of God. We become less anxious about worldly matters and more trusting of God’s grace. As we decide to live with less and give sacrificially we grow. That’s the promise. We are changed from mere takers to givers.
There are other ways to give. Participating in worship and classes offered by the church is a way of giving. Participating in ministries that help the poor and needy is a way of giving. Praying for others is a way of giving. Being kind and respectful and open-minded is a way of giving. Our situations in life change but we are always called to give of ourselves. Maybe you’ve fallen into thinking that you’ll give later or that you gave earlier and now you can’t. Wherever we are in our lives, however limited we or our resources may be, we are called to be givers and not just takers.
In October St. John’s asks you to attend one Stewardship Meeting to learn about how your gifts are needed. You’ll learn where we are currently and where we hope to be in the year ahead, financially and program-wise. It’s important for you to come to one of those meetings. It’s a way of participating in the life of your church family. It’s one time during the year that we ask you to give to your church. From your giving you’ll receive even more. From your giving your church will grow in the image of Christ.
Stewardship Meetings in October
Sunday, October 4, at noon
Thursday, October 8, at 5:00
Sunday, October 11, at noon
Tuesday, October 13, at noon
Sunday, October 18, at noon
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.