In our culture, this day and age, there's really no more symbolic way to pledge such intentions than writing a financial figure on a piece of paper that will factor into the faith community's inventory of ministry resources for the year. Having said that, I do understand, too, the difficulty of penning a figure to which one then feels obliged to meet amid volatile markets and shaky-at-best, over-politicized unemployment statistics.
We talk a lot about the tithe (the first ten percent of the harvest). It can feel like law; it became law, as it felt like the very mechanism of maintenance for the community of nomads. However, as with all Torah legislation, Jesus reminded us of the truth in and behind the words. The short of it: If God wanted or needed anything, we would never be in a position to provide for God. The point was always TRUST! It's as if tithing was a discipline to keep sharp in us the boldness to do away with what seems to be needed in order to lull to sleep that angst and fear within us that grabs, gathers, and gorges itself...just to be sure. That's why manna gathered on Friday was to be only the amount that would be eaten until sundown Saturday. Any leftovers morphed into worms. We could go on with examples, like "give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" or talk of "daily bread" when it comes to the New Testament. There's no use, though. The point is what it always was: TRUST.
You know, there's joy in trust and trust in joy. Joy happens when we're doing what we were made to do. We were not created to labor and lust for sustenance. Sustenance is God's gift. We can let go because we trust the giver of things let-go.
We've covered this a bit over the past weeks in worship. A quick review:
- God doesn't want what's yours. God wants you!
- The question becomes, always, "Am I trusting God?" Trust translates into prayer; which translates into a church's overall well-being; which is directly correlated with the extent to which a church is forgiving and healing in the world.
- We give away because we have nothing to lose. God is source animating us no less than that same source animated Christ.
We'll complete our stewardship focus in worship this week with Hebrews 4.12-16. We live in the creating force of an "idea" of God. We'll explore how we live that "idea."
See you Sunday as we find joy together in our shared intention to continue thriving amid Christ's work at New Kirk Presbyterian Church.