Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but
of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20 (NRSV)
As a newly ordained cleric, I recently attended the firstof a series of courses offered by the Diocese in their Clergy Education Program. There were about ten attend-ees thinking through the topic for the day: Liturgy and Stewardship – very timely as churches prepare for the Stewardship season.
Liturgy is “the work of the people.” Although one person officiates or presides, our worship is a communal experience made richer by the contributions of the body of believers. Everyone has a particular gift, perspective and area of expertise to contribute. In his first letter to the Church at Corinth, St. Paul uses the human body to explain the unique gifts each individual member bringsto the larger whole.
The Stewardship season is a call to discern prayerful-ly how we employ all that we are and possess for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. The Church uses these three avenues when speaking of stewardship: time,talent, and treasure.
Time: Whether or not I think I have enough time for things, the real question is what am I busy about? Is the time and effort I’ve given to this task building the King-dom of God?
Talent: How am I developing and strengthening the expertise which God has given me? Is my talent blessing the ministries of St. Luke’s?
The Vestry members can help you discover ways to share your time and talent with the parish community.
Treasure: Scripture is replete with verses about money, possessions, and the right use of them, so that our re-sources don’t distract us from our relationship with Godand one another.
The biblical standard is the tithe, or 10%. One clergycolleague made the distinction of the intentional givingrather than “loose change” or leftover giving. Giving with intention prioritizes our obligation to God, allowing us to return to God our first and best. Since God gives of His best to us, we ought to do the same.
In the coming weeks, we will be engaged in a lot more conversations about stewardship. I look forward to ex-ploring together our own practice of liturgy and steward-ship at St. Luke’s.
Blessings to you,