Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Week of September 10, 2017

Feeling "in the groove" yet? Fall's still a couple of weeks out, but summer couldn't be more over. All the indicators are there. By now, if you have school-age kids, you've mastered the clock, even down to the preciseness of seconds. You can get anywhere on time (well, on your time) every day of the week. Thursday through Monday, there are football games live and in-person in your neighborhood or on television. The evening sun has become bashful, and it's getting worse by the day. Shoot, we've even had our first (and hopefully last) hurricane--a factor of fall that seemed no longer en vogue until this year.

Another indicator of autumn: stewardship season has begun. For us at NKP, that means we are knocking around the phrase "I'm In," spending the next five weeks in the story of Jonah. This week, it was Jonah 1.1-3 and exploring the question of engaging or escaping God's invitation. In the coming weeks, our themes of "I'm Included," "I'm Invited," "I'm Indebted," and "I'm All In" will guide our voyage.

But stewardship, though full of cute and clever efforts to close you on the idea that New Kirk Presbyterian is THE place for your church life, really has just one major function. Oh boy. Here it comes. Pastor's done tryin' to get 'is 'ands in 'ar pockets. Nope. I wasn't going there at all, because that's not the major focus of stewardship. Sure, pledging is very important. For both donor and for the session, pledges help us to plan our work in ministry so that we can work our plan. This is Jesus stuff (Luke 14.26-33) The focus of stewardship is, however, much broader, encompassing the whole follower of Christ, not just their earning potential.

This stewardship season, try a new approach. Ask yourself if you're truly all in with your walk with Christ. Remember, Christ redeemed us already, just as we are. And that means, as far as requirements are concerned, you're already good enough (because Christ has made it so that, even in our failures, we are good enough, now that he is risen). Being all in is a privilege--a privilege of a freedom that comes only through an irreversible reconciliation. In other words, God says, "Go ahead. Try. Let's create together." Of course you'll screw up. God's got that covered so that you can get up, try again (and again, and again...), and grow amid all the learning.

So this stewardship season, while you are in the groove of the automatisms of autumn, snap out of it long enough to question and wonder. Find eternal comfrot in a God who, in Christ, has already fixed everything. Make a plan of faithfulness. That's right: just do it. No one's concerned if you break it. You absolutely will at some point. But make a plan. Plan your faithfulness this year, and work your plan. Do so, and you just may find yourself--your true self--all in as a follower of Jesus Christ.

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