November 2022

The gospel text for Stewardship Sunday – November 6, 2022: Luke 6:20-31
“Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the
kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who
weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you,
revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for
surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to
you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will
be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all
speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who
curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and
from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs
from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would
have them do to you.’
Scholar, Matt Skinner, writes “Jesus calls us, each of us, to a new existence in which God’s
generosity benefits the downtrodden. That generosity creates a culture formed and sustained by the
mercy of God. Woe to those who are missing opportunities to experience tangibly the giving and
receiving of that mercy.” The woe is not so much a threat that you will regret your position or
decisions later but more like – ‘Woe to you because you are missing out’. You are lacking the joy,
purpose and belonging that comes when you share what you have. You cannot know the joy of a
community where generosity is generative without contributing to it and receiving from it. It builds on
itself. Love and care multiple along with giving. We create communities of faith to worship – that is our
first responsibility. However, it is not meaningful if we do not see the importance of relationships
within the group and witness outside of it. The building and the activities of church can distract us
from the core purpose of our gathering. We follow Christ who calls us to relinquish our reliance on
anything but God. We can give generously because we experience God’s generosity. We do not give
everything away but we share deeply from what we have.
“The most important aspect of stewardship is sharing the stories about what God is doing in people’s
lives. Ultimately, nobody cares very much about busy churches. People care that God is doing
something through the ministry of our congregations. This is the impact of our ministry. … As I
evaluate communications in churches, I see a lot of information sharing. I see a lot of asking people
to do stuff—volunteer for this, give to that, show up for this event. What I don’t see is much sharing
about how God is making a difference in anyone’s life, but it is precisely this that compels
people to invest in their congregation.” (written by Mike Ward, a rostered ELCA pastor who works
with churches in the areas of stewardship and fundraising as part and parcel of mission and spiritual
growth.)
We hear this kind of faithfulness when we share stories of care and support. What you do for each
other is where we find God at work in our midst. I have the joy of hearing and carrying the stories of

your lives and faithfulness with me. There is no greater privilege than witnessing the love and
resilience you experience in your lives. They encourage my faith and I see you growing each other’s
faith. It is a privilege to share the power of God in the simplest and most profound of exchanges.
I invite you to consider what God has been doing in your life. How do you connect your faith to the
work of the church? What stories have you heard that bring meaning to your life and in turn open your
whole hearted giving? I know that I am not the only one who wants to know so consider writing them
down or sharing them during our prayer time on November 6 and after! Stewardship should be
emphasized throughout the year but rarely do we observe it more than once Sunday. Maybe through
sharing our stories, we can extend this all the way to Advent!
On Stewardship Sunday, in your bulletin or with your newsletter, you will receive a pledge card. After
spending time prayerfully considering your pledge, record what you commit in financial giving to the
church for the coming year. No one will see this card. Your commitment is between you and God. At
a certain point in the service, you will be asked to come forward, if you choose, in order to burn the
paper. The written pledge is a vow and the burning is a sign of your devotion. The United
Presbyterian Church used this practice on Stewardship Sunday for many years and found it very
meaningful. The church depends on your giving which is a vital part of any healthy Christian
community. We all hope and pray for a robust ministry and this is one of many ways we support that
endeavor and live out our commitment to Jesus Christ.

In peace,
Beth