A Word from Walker
Stewardship. It is word that evokes all kinds of feelings, especially if you’re a long-term Baptist. In its normal usage among Protestants it is a word that reminds us of times when the pastor or a ministry leader was seeking to drive home the point that “someone out there needed to start tithing so that the Lord’s work could continue” to ensure that giving would be higher this coming year than the previous. Some churches even had “Stewardship Sundays” where you were to bring your pledge cards and parade down the aisle with your family in dutiful tow to place them (the pledge cards, not your kids) in a basket on the altar. Really strong churches even would have you sign your pledge cards as a point of accountability. Stewardship in this context is some serious stuff.
Behind all of this was the expressed expectation was that God pays close attention to how much money you give to and through your church, and if you don’t give what you could there could be some serious consequences … the youth ministry could go away; a missionary might have to come home from the field; Aunt Beulah’s sixty-year reign as the flower lady of the church could end. You get the picture. Sometimes preachers were even bold enough to mention Ananias and Saphira just to make this deal even more sobering. I mean, who would want to drop dead if you were to put down some measly amount on your pledge card, right?
Besides the weird theology that is enmeshed in the idea that God is beholding to us to see his Kingdom expand, using guilt or any form of emotional manipulation rarely gets the results that people are seeking to obtain. People will eventually resent and avoid leaders who do this. And besides, for the Gospel-centered Christian stewardship is more of a get to than a have to. It is really not even just about money.
A closer look at the word reveals a more comprehensive and sensical meaning. Its essence involves being entrusted with resources from an owner that you in turn are called upon to maximize. We all know the “Parable of the Talents” found in Matthew 25:14-30. In this story three servants are given various levels of investments and were expected to get a return on their master’s money. Two did a good job. The third, well let’s just say that he got a demotion for his laziness and overall lack of faith.
The point I am seeking to make is that the heart of this story is not focused on money but about the fact that God holds us accountable for maximizing the blessings he has sent our way. And all of us have some talent, a measure of treasure and an equal amount of time to use for God’s glory.
I share all of us this to appeal to you, not from a guilt-based motivation but from a faith-based one to plan to attend our Annual Meeting on October 20th from 6:45-8:00 pm at Two Cities Church. This was not a simple decision. We discussed on several occasions as to whether we would have one this year due to the complications of meeting during a pandemic. After prayer and discussion we decided to do so, without a meal. Because of all these factors we will be observing clear protocols for maintain a safe environment and along with that are planning for it to be abbreviated and very focused so that essential information is shared and important decisions are made in as short as time as possible.
Stewardship here is about involvement and investment. You need to know what has happened this year and what is planned for next year. The best way to be a good steward is to attend. I am asking that you reach out to Beth Warfford out Assistant and register. If you don’t you won’t be able to vote on some very important matters. Please plan to send you’re allowed number of representatives from your church. Your pastor has this information. Just like the upcoming election in November your vote matters. I look forward to seeing you there.
In Acts 9 we see a picture of Paul seeking to serve faithfully among many fears and threats that were very legitimate. The fears of the Jews in Damascus made Paul a basket case (as he was lowered out of the city in a basket) and his history of persecuting the church made it a significant fear factor for the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. He was a man who was disenfranchised or without a people. Only his new faith remained and a friend named Barnabas. Yet we see that God worked in the churches of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria despite the fears and persecution that they faced. The Holy Spirit encouraged them as they had a healthy fear of God that likely dispelled the many other fears that they faced. And, yes, the churches grew by God’s grace and according to His people walking in a Holy fear.
The fears that we face during this season may come in various shapes and sizes especially in this year that continues to be labeled by the description “unprecedented” when describing so many things. Leave those fears at the foot of the cross and pray that God will pivot them for His glory as we live by faith. Our churches will see God’s blessing when we resolve not to just throw up our hands in defeat, but we actively and prayerfully seek to serve faithfully and obediently on a daily basis whenever God opens a door. If you have faithfully waited and are unsure of ways that you can engage people who need Jesus, reach out to us at the PMBA and let us connect you with current ways that God is at work all around us. Many have changed due to the ongoing pandemic, but they are still making a difference in new and exciting ministries!
I hope to see many of you at our annual PMBA meeting! Be sure to share with me about how your church has been on mission.
Our toy store ministries are well under way. Be sure to connect with the director of your store with any questions.