Tomorrow, on our day off, Chad and I will have our annual “date” to evaluate our health care plan options, figure out how much that is going to cost us, and then start the work of updating our budget for the coming year. It isn’t the most exciting date we will have, but it is necessary. Evaluate and updating our responses to life is an important rhythm in which to engage.
I distinctly remember a conversation with a church member some time ago. He was bragging to me about how, for the past 25 years, he has given to the church consistently. Consistent giving to the church is a deep blessing for knowing which resources are available to the church to engage in ministry. But what he was bragging about was “dropping a $20 bill” into the offering plate every Sunday for the past 25 years. When he started, that was a generous and sacrificial gift. He was a man who owned his own business. Those early years were lean. But since those early years he must have evaluated the costs of his goods and services and updated the fees he charged his clients in that same 25-year period. He had been a pretty successful business man. I was struck how during that entire time he never thought to evaluate and update his giving to the church.
Contrast him with the widowed older woman who came to me one day with a very specific change to her committed giving to the church. I asked her to tell me about that. She proceeded to tell me about the increase the government had given her in her social security check, and how she wanted to update her commitment to reflect a true tithe of her income. It was just a few dollars every week, but she had done the evaluation and needed and wanted to update her giving. It was sacrificial and a deep blessing for her and for her church.
The Stewardship Team is challenging you to the habit of this second woman. Take some prayerful time in the next week or so to evaluate your giving to the church and update it according to your prayerful conversation with God. Maybe you have gone from a one income household to a two income household. How might that change your commitment to the church? Maybe you have been consciously doing without some subscription services or experiences and now you have freed up some income to be more generous. Maybe you have received an inheritance, a bonus check, or a raise. What might evaluating and updating your commitment to the church look like given these new circumstances? Maybe you need to evaluate more carefully where the income you have is being spent, perhaps prayerfully making some changes and updating your choices. Whatever your life circumstances, how might you evaluate and update your commitment to the church?
Many of you know that inflation has been near 10% over the past two years. This not only hits your grocery budget, but the costs of the church as well. There are increased costs as the church does its budgeting for the coming year. It is our prayerful hope that through your evaluating and updating your commitment to the church, collectively, we will have more resources for the important, life-changing work of Eden Prairie United Methodist Church.
Join me in a prayerful evaluation of your giving. And join me in prayerfully updating your commitment to the church.
Pastor Becky Jo