Giving Changes Your Heart
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6.19-21
Stewardship Meetings: October 7, 14, and 21, following the 10:30 Eucharist
Our actions in the world are tremendously important for the good that they accomplish. If I dump all my trash out on the street, I make the world around me a pretty messy place and I encourage others to do the same. If I take care of my trash, recycle things, and dispose of things in the right way, then I make the world neater and cleaner. If I am disrespectful of others, use racial slurs, speak rudely to people in the store, I spread anger and hatred. If I conduct myself civilly and carry a smile, compliment others and build up those around me, I spread something much more positive. What we do and how we do it affects others and the world beyond.
In addition to that obvious truth, Jesus reminds us that the way we conduct our lives affects our own hearts and souls. Doing the right thing does something inside me. My heart is purer, bigger, and more like Christ when I do good works in the world. Of course we should do what is right and good because it is right and good. For encouragement, perhaps, God has built in some payoff for us when we do right and good.
Each year, the church asks us to commit a percentage of our financial resources as a gift to God through the church. Those gifts do so much good for the church. Our gifts keep our historic and beautiful structure properly maintained and inviting. Our gifts keep the grounds looking good. Our gifts make repairs and improvements possible. Our gifts attract and pay the salaries of talented staff members. Without our gifts the church would not be able to do any outreach in the community. Without our gifts the church would shut its doors and the good news of the gospel would be dampened.
Our gifts, however, do perhaps even more good in our hearts. The treasure we give to the church allows our hearts to grow into the image of Christ. Many years ago I committed to giving at least 10% of my money to the church. My intentions were pretty selfish: I knew it would look bad if I asked others to give and didn’t give myself. The results in my life have been pretty remarkable. The impatience I used to carry around inside me has softened. I can wait for things to come to me better than I used to. The stubbornness I brought to everything has become a little lighter. The harsh ways I looked at others has turned kinder. My selfishness has become more generous. I have a long way to go to become the person I can become. But giving money to the church generously has put me on a path that I know is right. Had I waited to feel generous before I gave money to the church, I probably never would have started giving. But giving has made me more generous.
We ask everyone in this parish to give generously and promise spiritual growth to all who commit to giving generously. Over the years no one has ever come to me and said that giving has made them a worse person or even kept them the same. Giving works. We give and we grow in the image of Christ.
This fall St. John’s again asks for you to give a goodly percentage of your income to the church. We ask you to work toward giving 10% of your financial resources. We ask that because the church needs it. We ask it because God tells us to give. We ask it because we know it will bring goodness to your heart.
Please plan on attending one Stewardship Meeting on a Sunday in October. On October 7, 14, and 21, we will hold a 30 minute meeting after church where you can pick up your pledge packet and hear about our financial health and plans for the future. Just as giving affects your heart, attending one of these meetings will increase your awareness of the good things going on in this part of the kingdom.
Give to the church because the church needs your gifts. Give because your heart needs to grow.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Farewell Reception for Candice and Steve Frazer
Congratulations to Candice Frazer as she has accepted the call to be Rector of the Church of the Ascension and congratulations to our sister parish for such a great decision! We are grateful for all Candice has done for St. John’s the past five years and for all that Steve has added to our parish. Their last Sunday with us will be September 30 and we will have a reception for them that day after the 10:30 Eucharist. If you would like to participate in a financial gift to the Frazers please make your check payable to St. John’s and mark it for the Frazers. We also pray for a smooth transition for the Frazers and Ascension.