Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stewardship

I have joined my first official committee at Grace Church. I am now the co-chair of the stewardship committee.

I suppose it is a simple fact of life that if you show up at a church regularly, you are going to be approached to join something.

For my first year at Grace, I steadfastly refused to sign up for anything. I had significantly overcommitted at Bell Street, so I wanted time to just sit in the pews.

Then, when I considered joining something, I thought I would pick something sexy like the ministry committee or adult religious education. I mean, who actually picks stewardship?

But for the last year, I have been tithing, and it has been a big deal. It is inviting me into a new kind of relationship with God and with money and the material world. And I am learning lessons from it that I could learn no other way. Not the least of which is that when I share my widow's mite with my church, I am contributing to the kingdom in my own little corner of the world. And opening a door to God that I had previously bolted closed. Money was one of the last major bunkers of my will and ego. One of the last places of darkness that I shielded from God's light. Can you picture me holding onto this dark place in my heart and mind? It was fear.

And where you find fear, you need to open it up to God. Crack open the box and let the fear out and let God in.

So last September, with great trepidation, I decided to start tithing. I set up and automatic deduction at the bank and every week money is taken from our household account and transferred to Grace church. Plus, when I get checks from my kitchen tools gig, I write additional checks to the church.

I would love to say that tithing has solved all our financial problems. So far that has not been the case. I am still sick with money. I still spend too much and fret too much and worry. My husband's business is still doing poorly. But at the end of the day, the discipline of giving away part of our income has brought subtle and significant gifts. I feel deeply invested in the body of Christ. Not just my church, but the whole body. I feel a sense of stewardship towards my own money, because I realize, on some level, it doesn't really belong to me in the first place. I am giving back to God what has been so freely given to me.

And I realized that I am called to help others make this leap of faith, to draw them into deeper relationship with God.

So I joined the stewardship committee.

I'll keep you posted.

2 comments:

Judith said...

hi Rachel,

Good for you! The Stewardship folks are unsung heroes in every church -- bringing up the one subject no one wants to talk about. You go, girl!

Mary Beth said...

Yea for YOU! I am big on Stewardship and on pledging...and am working toward tithing.

Blessings!