Reflections from our Stewardship Chair, Lance Richardson

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10)

Have you ever looked up at the Altar during the Sunday services and thought about how wonderful it looks?  Have you ever thought to yourself how happy you are that your children are able to attend Sunday school?  Have you ever wondered who does all the minor repairs around St. John’s to keep it maintained for everyone’s use?  The answer is many of the people sitting around you in the pews today.

We have a lot of fantastically talented people here at St. John’s and many of them volunteer their time and energy to make St. John’s the place we all know and love.  It’s the people in the Altar Guild, the Sunday school teachers, the Choir, ushers, counters, building and grounds members, and the vestry that give of their precious time to help serve the St. John’s family.  All of their efforts are greatly appreciated and St. John’s would be at a loss without their sacrifice.  If you speak to one of these great volunteers, I encourage you to offer them a smile and a thank you for what they do.

In this season of stewardship, I would ask all of you to please consider volunteering in some fashion around St. John’s or in the local community.  There are many worthy charities out there that need volunteers.  You won’t believe how appreciative they are of your offer. The gift of service to others, no matter how small, will bring a great sense of accomplishment and joy.  What better reward could you ask for?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

All of us have remarkable talents given to us by God. Some of us like singing and music and would make magnificent new additions to the choir. Others are patient and gifted educators who would make fantastic Sunday school teachers. Some people are handy with tools and would like to work on projects around the church and rectory. A few feel a call to serve St. John’s by being members of the Vestry. As a church community we are truly blessed to have all the great people we do. Everyone at St. John’s is special and all are blessed with some talent or gift that is uniquely theirs. There is a place within our St. John’s community for all of your indi- vidual talents to be used to serve and honor God. In Matthew we are all called upon to use those talents and gifts to give glory to God. Perhaps over the next few weeks you could stop for a moment and ask yourself what your talent or gift is. Ask yourself how you could use that talent, no matter what it is, to help bring glory to God. Listen to that little voice inside of you and communicate your talents and gifts to others in our St. John’s family. If you have a calling for one of our ministries, ask others around you about it. I am sure someone will point you toward the right person to answer your question or listen to your idea. Use the gifts God has given you.

 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 41-44 41)

Each year as we move into the stewardship season we all know the dreaded discussion of money always comes up. You can call it treasure or you can call it tithes, but in the end it is still money. People tiptoe around the issue not wanting to actually say the word, but at the same time trying to get people to give. I believe the best way to talk about a thing is just being open about it.

We all have our own households we have to run and we all know that we have to budget our money wisely to make it through the year. We have to do the same thing here at St. John’s. Your pledge allows the Finance Committee and Vestry to plan and execute a budget to take us through the next year. Every pledge is important at St. John’s because it allows us to know what we, the Vestry, are capable of doing for the family of St. John’s and for the rest of God’s family outside of St. John’s.

Your pledge isn’t only important to St. John’s, it is important to our Father in Heaven. Your pledge of time, talent, or treasure is really an agreement between you and Him. He doesn’t need your money; he only wants your heart. He wants to know that you are committed to him and that He is what is most important to you. Jesus actually tells us in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When I read that verse I thought to myself what a powerful statement and how true it really is.

This year I ask you to embrace the spirit of giving. Giving is a spiritual matter as central to the Christian faith as prayer, Bible study, and worship. No pledge is too small. No gift of time, talent, or treasure is too insignificant. Even if you have never pledged before, I encourage you to do so. We are all one family and all of us play an important role in keeping St. John’s the wonderful and special place we know it is and what it has the potential of becoming.