Giving of Ourselves
I really do not have a proper title for this meditation, but here I sit with many thoughts running through my head. I am a part of the stewardship commission at my church; a position of deep concern, deep joy, and extremely difficult work.
This always has me thinking and meditating about what I am, what I am doing, and what can I do for others. Some call this Christian sharing; I call this concern for my brothers and sisters in the one race we have, the human race. I have a former student in New Jersey who carved a special cane for me, simulating a totem from the Watchung Indians in New Jersey. It is a gift I cherish, reminding me of what I am capable of doing for others. (I taught him to read when he was a freshman in high school). I shared my gifts with him, and he shared his gifts with me. I know that I helped to change his life; but he also changed mt life, by giving me the gift of something that is very useful in reminding me that what I can do for others is the most important part of my life. This is why I kept teaching until this past April after turning 75.
My original-American friends remind me that in the tribal councils, when the leaders had to make a life-changing or life-giving decision, they would meditate on how the change would affect the present tribe. But they also were concerned how the change would affect future generations, going out to the seventh generation. If the change was harmful in any respect, they would reject it.
What an intuitive way to conduct change!!!!
Can we do it? Yes, but only if we are willing to sacrifice. And by sacrifice, I mean sacrifice those ideas and practices that we think are so vital to our existence.
Stewardship is not just pledging to give money. Money is, unfortunately, important to keep a church vital. But money is always replaceable. What is not replaceable is giving of ourselves. When we give our time, sharing our talents with others, we are giving gifts that can never be replaced.
At St. George’s church, my wife is an integral part in the founding and leadership of The Table at St. George’s. This is a free, produce-filled market for the less fortunate in our community. Linda and the people who began this keep it functioning are giving valuable gifts to our neighbors; gifts that can never die, because of the love and caring that is behind the whole idea. It takes money to operate this table, but more importantly, it takes the time and love donated by the volunteers to keep it going. This is a change that will affect the shoppers for a lifetime, giving them the opportunity to live, to grow their families for several generations to come, maybe even to the seventh generation.
What this all boils down to is that I believe that stewardship is something far greater that just putting a few dollars into the plate on a Sunday morning. I believe that after carefully considering how much money we can afford to give, we must then meditate on how much of ourselves we can give, how much we can share our talents with others that will affect a positive change for the next seven generations.
God bless you all and keep you safe and joyful.