“Trust the Lord and do good; live in the land, and farm faithfulness.” - Psalm 37:3
Dear Ascension Family,
Our understanding of the word “stewardship” often gets reduced to encompass only matters of money, particularly in the church. In reality, everything we do is stewardship. We are stewards not only of the money we possess but of all the gifts God has given us. How we use our time and our talents matters a great deal. Our stewardship, then, is how we manage everything we do with all that we have.
Earlier this year, I highlighted the concept of original blessing in a few back-to-back sermons. The concept struck a chord for many, and we’ve continued to touch on the blessing of God in various ways, including this year’s stewardship campaign, Called to Be a Blessing. The scriptures are filled with examples of blessings. Some blessings we see clearly and attribute directly to God. Other blessings may come to us through others or seemingly by our efforts; these blessings also come from God. At their simplest, blessings represent all the good of creation.
Many of you have read our Reflections each Sunday. As part of our stewardship campaign, we launched these on August 7th, and you’ll continue to see them each week through November 6th. They accompany our Sunday bulletins and are available to read on our website’s Stewardship page. Each week, an Ascension member considers the scriptures for that week and writes about how they speak to them. Questions relating to stewardship are available at the end of each entry for us to ponder. I hope that as we read and reflect, our sense of how best to be stewards of our lives at home, church, and community is brought into focus. I also believe these weekly pieces can help us lean into this broader understanding of stewardship.
In a world where personal possessions and time autonomy matter greatly, the notion that everything belongs to God can be challenging. Theologian Henery Nouwen wrote, “The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame, or power but to God.” Our actions convey our true beliefs; are we living as though our very lives belong to God?
Ideally, the church helps us fulfill this high calling. A faith community develops spiritual disciplines that keep God central in our lives. It is also a place where we serve our neighbors together, thus increasing our collective good works and exemplifying the blessing we experience in God. Gathering for prayer and service also allows us to serve out of the gifts God has given us, for together we are whole. It is as if each of us is a puzzle: together, the picture of God’s kingdom is more transparent and more complete.
The same is true as we pool our monetary resources. Our budget supports our common life in worship and formation. It also allows us to offer outbound ministries to those in need and support a variety of other ministries and partnerships. I often wish to capture the gratitude I hear from those we serve. When I am thanked on our collective behalf, I do my best to impart that it comes from our entire parish community. Our generosity can inspire others to be generous as well, which exemplifies the principles of stewardship and sharing the blessing of God.
Please join me in embracing our Called to Be a Blessing campaign. Read the reflections each week, discuss the questions with one another, and pray for our church and our community. Discern how you will steward the gifts you’ve been granted in the year ahead and how Ascension can amplify them.
Download cards below, complete & drop off at our Welcome Desk or at the church office.