By Joe Galloway: Compass Ambassador, Growth
As Director of Stewardship at my parish, one of my responsibilities is to help parishioners feel good about giving the church their Time, Talent, and Treasure. In these difficult days, giving time and talent becomes more challenging as does the impact of coronavirus on the weekly collection.
Let me pause here and address the two elephants now glaring at me from opposite sides of the room:
- To you Stewardship gurus – I know that Stewardship is not about money. It is about Discipleship, how we live our everyday lives. Yes, of course. And since how we live our everyday lives involves how we spend money, then Stewardship is about money, the Treasure we earn as a result of God’s gifts and blessings of Time and Talent.
- To you Stewardship skeptics – I hear your retort, “Oh boy, there he goes again, asking for more money.” This is not about asking for money. But it is about asking you to continue to give. It is about the vital importance of giving to benefit your spiritual well-being.
To say that these are interesting times is an understatement. The unknowns of COVID-19 can cause fear and stress. We see evidence of that in news reports of panic in action at grocery and hardware stores. I confess, the stories make me wonder if I, too, should rush out and buy all the toilet paper I can find. They make me worry that maybe I should hunker down and conserve my resources for whatever my needs might be in the unknown near future.
If those kinds of thoughts prevail and cause my actions to be focused inwardly on just my needs, then I risk forgetting the needs of my neighbors. I risk relying more on myself than on God to provide.
You might respond to this with, “But Joe, God helps those who help themselves.” That maxim may be one of the most quoted verse not in the Bible. But let me ask, how does God provide help? Isn’t it often through the gifts and actions of others? Could it be that the help my neighbor needs from God comes through me?
Know that I am not asking anyone to give what they don’t have nor am I asking you to put your family’s financial wellbeing in jeopardy. In 2 Corinthians 8: 10-12 we read that we are to give willingly according to what we have, not according to what we do not have. If the impact of coronavirus has caused a reduction of hours worked, or even the loss of your job, then give only if, when and what you can.
For the rest of us, who have not felt a financial impact from the virus, please continue giving to the church. The needs of the poor will not be quarantined by COVID-19. The works of mercy – feeding, clothing, providing shelter, helping with medical and transportation costs – must carry on. And to carry on, the church needs resources, including money.
Let’s take the events of these past few weeks as an opportunity to turn our hearts to him and repent of our sins and short-comings. Let’s pause and reflect, and be grateful for all the blessings God has given us. Let’s respond to the gifts he showers on us by giving back a portion of our Time, Talent, and Treasure to support the ongoing mission of the Church.
God Bless you, your family, and all of us as we put our trust in God to provide for all we and our neighbors need during these challenging times.