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On My Mind: Stewardship (and how it sometimes stresses me out)

January 26, 2014

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It is no secret that I love (LOVE) the community, grace, and accountability I find in my faith community.  It is also no secret that I understand that not everyone can relate to this.  So, let’s begin here.  I think everyone has experienced a moment or two where they have felt the vastness of the universe and the smallness of themselves.  The smallness and the knowledge that there is still infinite space inside our own consciousness.

The language I have to describe those things is that of the Protestant church.  If that is difficult to relate to, then try to find the language you know and translate a little.

I love my faith community.  I love learning there.  Almost every week I am challenged to look at the world a little differently and almost every week I try my best to do so.  I love the meals we share together and the music we make.  I love knowing the people and doing my best to be present when we interact.  It is a good place for me and my family.

Part of belonging to this community is contributing to it.  Our church in Wisconsin had a lovely way of explaining that this is not solely about money.  We pledged to give our gifts, our prayers, our talents, and our service.  (Did I get that right, Wausau folks?  It’s a been a while since I’ve said those words.)

Not just money, but money does pay the staff (and I want them to have food and health insurance and things) and it does pay the utility bills (and I want to be comfortable in the building – remember the ice palace cathedral in Cleveland?) and it does keep the place in good repair.

Confession: I am on the stewardship committee here and I have not yet made my pledge commitment.

This is stressing me out!! 

In Wisconsin, this was not a problem. What is different here? 

There is no automatic electronic funds transfer option here.   That is one contributing factor.  In Wisconsin, if we missed service, our offering still got to the church on time with the bank transfer.  I so wish we had that here.

Factor two: Fear and loathing in budget land.  This past week we had about $700 in unexpected car expenses.  When moving items around in the budget and it’s easy to put off anything that doesn’t come with a bill and a due date.  I am quick to think I’ll catch up on that later.  And that just doesn’t happen.

The car repair this week is covered by the ticket to Sweden money (yes, I’m still heartsick over that) and the bills will all make it in close to on time.

I want this year’s pledge to be paid in full.  I know that neither my grace portion nor my membership will be revoked if it isn’t.  This is about me learning discipline in relationship to the check book and about me loving this community so much that the giving is important.

So, creative stewardship.  My latest great idea is to donate some music substitute Sundays.  It is not stressful to plan music for four weeks.  It is something I can do.
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My head will be busy this next month coning up with more ideas.  Maybe I can sell some knitting.  Maybe I can
…more thinking to do, certainly.

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