Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, September 15, 2019
By: David May, Rector
For where your heart is…
In the fall of 1987 at the age of 28, I filled out my very first pledge card for my church. It was the beginning of my own spiritual journey to offer a tithe – 10% – of my monetary means to God. That journey has had ups and downs, and ebbs and flows, feast and famine – just like the rest of my life. But I’m still on that journey. It’s just too important to me to fail to say ‘thank you to God’ in a concrete way for how good God is and has been to me. That’s where my heart is.
I turned in my very first pledge card in the offering plate at the Church of the Holy Comforter here in Richmond. It wasn’t much at all – I pledged $20 a month. But it was mine, my pledge to God. I kept that pledge and my gratitude to God grew in ways that nothing else ever had done.
A couple of Sundays after I put my pledge card in the offering plate, one of my heroes at that parish came up to me at the coffee hour. He was a really successful lawyer in town. But more than that, I loved how he talked about his faith clearly and passionately. That Sunday, he said to me that he wanted to tell me something important. He said, “I’m on the stewardship committee and I know you pledged for this coming year.”
I jumped in, “I’m so sorry. It’s barely anything. I feel sort of embarrassed.” He said, “I don’t know what you pledged and that doesn’t matter to me. I just want to let you know how much you’ve inspired me and encouraged me in my own giving – and not just me either! I just want to say, thank you. I went back and upped my pledge when I learned you’d pledged.”
I was dumbstruck. That man was – and still is – a spiritual giant in my eyes. He said, “this is God at work, David. Just say, ‘thank you’.”
Next Sunday, we begin our season of Stewardship here at St. Mary’s, together. The theme this year is from Jesus’ words from his great Sermon on the Mount: “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). These words ask us to consider what matters to us most and decide what that means about how we want to use our monetary gifts and time and talents. This is important, prayerful work for each of us to do. Our pledged offerings fund the mission and ministry of St. Mary’s. And in ways that matter as much, it is the single most important thing we each can do to do to the ‘Spirit work.’ As Bob Hetherington might say, to see and know God in our own lives.
So, let’s encourage each other as we enter this season of Stewardship. Let’s give thanks to God for this beautiful place in this most gracious time. And let’s do the ‘Spirit work’ that will show us that where our heart is. Because there God’s own heart is too.