A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, November 4, 2018
By: Seth Schaeffer
In Hebrews 13:16, we are reminded: “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” For years, we at St. Mary’s received this reminder just before diligent ushers surged the aisles to disseminate shiny collection plates. Upon hearing these words, I would repeat them in my head and smile. I liked hearing them. But I never focused very deeply on what it was that I liked about them. Upon a cursory reflection, the reminder seems utterly unnecessary. Do we Church-going folk need to be reminded to do good? Certainly not. Do we, who constantly extoll the virtues of sharing on our children, need to be reminded to share? No way. Except, I think that sometimes we do.
As Wayne Dementi observed so well, the journey from showing up, to leaning in, and, finally, to staying strong gets a bit harder from one step to the next. I think about the reminder in Hebrews 13 in much the same way—doing good sounds pretty easy, but when that means sharing (i.e. giving someone else something that is yours), that’s a bit harder. And when sharing means sacrificing (i.e. giving even when it hurts), well, that is harder still. So I think it does help to be reminded, or urged, to do good, to share, and to sacrifice. God gives us proof that he is well pleased by our sacrifice through the warmth and joy we feel when we do.
Carrie and I felt that warmth and joy when we made our stewardship pledge for 2019. Pledging to St. Mary’s is one of the many ways we all can show—and feel—that we are “all in.” St. Mary’s is not just a place, it is a community that grows and is strengthened when all of its individual families share their blessings. Such sacrifices have allowed St. Mary’s to grow into the wonderful spiritual center that it is, weathering hardships along the way. And such sacrifices will allow St. Mary’s not only to weather the hardships to come, but to continue to flourish.
In the end, I think that the reminder in Hebrews 13 is not so much a reminder to do good and share, but a reminder that by doing these things, you are pleasing God. And I guess that is what I liked about hearing those words all along.