Time, talents, treasure. It’s stewardship month.
Every year I find myself reflecting on what I give and how much I give to God before I sort out bills, donate to other causes and spend my time on this or that. Every year I oscillate between feeling guilty and frustrated about all of the above.
When I graduated from seminary, the rabbi at Vancouver School of Theology, gave the graduating class this piece of advice. “Find an act of service to others that you do, and tell no one about it.” I thought of the passage from Matthew: Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (NIV). I think as I am growing into my priesthood, this piece of advice has been especially helpful because I could lean back on the fact that I work for the church and therefore all my time and talents are in service to God.
Then comes the financial bit. Vancouver is expensive. Both those who have enough and those who do not can struggle to give financially to the church to continue our ministry to the glory of God. I find it hard to assess what an appropriate tithe should be with so many people weighing in on the subject. Some say give what you can, some say 10%, before tax, after tax…and so the debate goes on. However, I read an interesting piece from the Episcopal Church in the United States entitled: Tip or Tithe? As you may gather from the title it is about offering our first fruits (our tithes) to God first, rather than leaving what is left over as a tip. I found it a helpful analogy.
This year I have opted to give via the Pre-Authorized Donation Program. The forms for this are located in the narthex and by the entrance to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. This program allows me to give my first fruits directly to the church without me having to remember my chequebook, envelopes or cash. If you struggle to stay organized like me, this could be a good option for you, and you can change the amount anytime.
However you decide to give this year, I urge you to pray about it so you can give from a generous place and with a grateful heart. Time, talents and treasure, to the glory of God.
See you soon,