I’ll admit, initially it felt a little strange to compose my first stewardship letter in the midst of the ongoing crises confronting our nation and our neighborhoods. Is this the right time to be talking about stewardship in the midst of pandemic and politics? Yes, it is.
Because stewardship is not a fund raiser; it is faithfulness to the King and His Kingdom. On Sunday we’ll hear Jesus tell the “Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30), the story of a master entrusting his resources to his servants while he’s away on a journey. It’s one story in a series of teachings that Jesus gives in response to the disciples’ request, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). If you listen to Jesus’ response, it sounds rather descriptive of our current cultural moment—deceit, division, violence, confusion, even natural disasters.
All of that sounds like cause for fear, but it’s actually a call for hope and mission—the King is coming (hope!), so we’ve got work to do (mission!). In the midst of pandemic and politics, our faithfulness to Jesus is expressed through hopeful living and through using our Christ-given resources to cultivate his Kingdom. As we are confronted by the literal and metaphorical diseases in our nation and neighborhoods, how can Immanuel steward our talents to multiply opportunities for others to experience the healing, peace, and love of Christ?
The answer to that question involves commitment, creativity, and risk, both with our resources and in our relationships. It means loving people we don’t like, sharing things we’d rather keep, having conversations we’d rather avoid, going places we’d rather not go. It sounds impossible, until we remember the greatest resource Jesus gave to his Church as we await his coming—the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God within us. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Immanuel, we are called to faithfulness to our King and His Kingdom. Our mission remains the same: We proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ for the transformation of lives and the renewal of our community. The need for transformation and renewal in our neighbors, in our neighborhoods, and in the nations has never been more evident. Please take time to read my letter when it arrives, accepting the invitation to pray, pledge, and give. And please join us in asking the Lord for specific direction as to how we are to be faithful stewards of the talents he has given Immanuel.
Your Pastor in Christ,