Why Do I Give? Reflection by Stewards and Care-Takers
Daily Lenten Meditations Personal sharing from people of St. Paulâ€™s
Meditations for Lent 2012-- # 5
A gift from your Stewardship Team St. Paulâ€™s Lutheran Church, Minnetonka
Day 1 â€“ Prayer of Stewardship
O Lord, forgive our fears that so stifle our stewardship. Forgive our giving in and our giving up instead of giving ourselves to Christ's mission of love. Remind us that our hope is in standing up and risking, in taking our stewardship seriously. Help us to remember, O Lord, that the stewardship question is not really, How much will we give? The stewardship question is, How will we spend what we have been given? We pray it will be faithfully and cheerfully.
by Anne Weems Shared by Pastor Louise
Day 2 – by Pastor Louise Why do I give? Confessions from your pastor:
Is it so that I don't have to bring up the "M" word to the congregation? Yes, it’s so awkward! Is it so that we don't have to worry ourselves with fund raisers to meet our budget? Yes, they are a distraction! Is it to help out those who can't give? Yes, please remind me that there are those who don't have as much as I do! Is it so that I don't have to feel guilty? Yes, guilt keeps me awake at night and I cherish my sleep! Is it so that God will love me? Yes, even though it’s wrongheaded! Is it so that I can show how much I love God and the church? Yes, as if it were ever enough! Is it so that I can pay forward all that I have received? Yes, well, to pay forward at least a portion! Is it so that I can do "the right thing?" Yah, you betcha!
Why do I give? Because I have been called, with each one of you, to live out God's dream for us to truly be a community of extravagant grace, radical inclusion, and relentless compassion! And this pastor shouts, AMEN!!
Day 3 – by Mary Kay Peterson It has been my privilege to be a member of St. Paul’s for more than forty years. During that time there have been many changes in the church. There have been changes in the building itself, in the pastoral staff, the worship book and hymnals, the music leadership and in the membership of the congregation. What has remained constant throughout all of these years, is the core of St. Paul’s, the heart, the feeling of belonging to and being a part of this family. As a member of this family, it is my responsibility and my privilege to contribute my resources both financial and of my time as I am able to do so. I am humbled by the generosity, commitment and devotion of so many of our members, both past and present. I feel this same responsibility to the community outside of St. Paul’s and support the many new initiatives that St. Paul’s has taken to reach out to the greater community. I am fortunate to be able to choose from an overwhelming abundance of food to eat, a warm and decent place to live and family and friends who support me. I believe that having the ability to give is a gift to me. I believe that giving is a responsibility, a privilege and a gift.
Day 4 – by Mike Smith
“Blessed are those...who delight in the law of the Lord...They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in due season. Their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.” Psalm 1:1a,2a,3
Day 5 – by Lorraine Smith “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”, Proverbs 3:5-6 Prior to our move to Minnetonka, we were members of a downtown Church. Now it was time to join a church in this area as our children were reaching Sunday school age. Our prayers were answered. Pastor Merle Franke was organizing St. Paul's. We liked the idea of joining a Church at its inception; however, we knew even with God's help and good leadership, we'd have to give generously of our time as well as what we could afford to give financially. Three generations of my family were devout church members and donated much to the community as well, so I learned early in life to give and help people in any way I could. It makes me feel good to do so. I've been blessed!
Day 6 – A Prelude to Holy Week "He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side; He came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word: "Follow thou me!" and sets us to the tasks by which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is." From The Quest of the Historical Jesus by Albert Schweitzer
"Humanly speaking, we could understand and interpret the Sermon on the Mount in a thousand different ways. Jesus knows only one possibility: simple surrender and obedience, not interpreting, but doing and obeying. That is the only way to hear it. He means putting into practice. "The only proper response to this word which Jesus brings with Him from eternity is simply to do it. Jesus has spoken: His is the word, ours the obedience. In the doing of it the word of Jesus retains its honor, might and power among us." From The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer "Jesus did not simply "suffer and die." Jesus was "tortured and murdered." He responded to His torturers with A Nonviolent Merciful Love. "Suffered and died" are minimizing, obscuring, evasive, generalizing words. They do not convey properly the Gospel history of what took place on Golgotha. The raw animal pain of suffering and death is not what saves. Identification with Jesus being tortured and murdered is Jesus doing the Father's will and loving those responsible for His torture and murder. Communion with the tortured and murdered and risen Jesus Christ is communion with a love that conquers evil and is stronger than death." From Center for Christian Nonviolence by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy Shared by Howard Rand
Day 7 â€“ Our Gift of Wonder "Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3) "Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are." "Two things fill my mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe: The starry heavens above me and the moral law within me." (Immanuel Kant) "When I consider the short extent of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the small space that I fill or even see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces unknown to me and which know me not, I am terrified and astounded to find myself here, not there, why now rather than at another time." From Pensees by Blaise Pascal "Thanks to the human heart by which we live, Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears. To me the meanest flower that blows can give Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears." By William Wordsworth, 1807 "I wonder as I wander out under the sky...Why Jesus our Savior was born for to die." (Appalachian Folk Carol) Shared by Howard Rand