“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34 ESV
I know, even though this is familiar, these verses don’t stand alone very well. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” comes at the end of a discourse that starts with, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus is calling our attention to the most important things, away from our material passions. The most important things are what I’m calling First Things. Hold that thought because I write next week about how First Things relate to the stewardship of money.
What I want to do in this article is to outline what we are going to be doing about stewardship for the next few weeks. Last Sunday was the soft kick-off of our annual financial stewardship campaign. This had been preceded with a Sunday Bible College lesson about tithing the week before. If you missed the lesson, you can find it on our web site.
A box has been placed in the nave where you may deposit a small card with your 2017 estimated tithes and offerings. (You may be familiar with congregations that run “Pledge Campaigns.” We don’t do that, and the card you give us is not a pledge. These cards are treated confidentially and are only seen by the treasurer. If you have questions about this, please ask me.) We collect these little cards for two reasons. One, is that it gives us a chance to teach and encourage about the stewardship of money. The second reason we do this is that your input on those little cards helps the Vestry prepare a meaningful and realistic 2017 budget with confidence. Over the last several years almost 100 percent of the congregation has participated for which we are truly grateful. Thank you.
To be honest, compared to most parishes, we don’t run much of a campaign. We don’t hold any high-pressure (or any other) commitment events. The “finance gang” (we don’t really have one) won’t come knocking on your door. What we do want is for you to feel right about your participation and for you to be well informed. The most important outcome of this campaign is that it makes a small contribution towards appropriate, thoughtful, cheerful, and generous giving without any pressure, compulsion, or sense of guilt.
If we haven’t gotten a card from you by the end of November, we will mail a letter to you with a card and envelope that you can mail back to the parish or place in the weekly offering. We don’t want to make guesses about your future giving without your input.