The work of the church is many faceted: We worship God and take care of one another, as well as reaching out to those in need as best we can; the standard biblical imperative for care being that we tend to the widow, the orphan, and the sojourner (Deut. 10:18). That may not seem to describe a very wide scope of care but the point is not the magnitude of the work but the character of the vulnerability of those who are in need. It is that vulnerability which the biblical wisdom highlights as it seeks to lead us to care for a broken world as a dynamic reflection of God’s will.
As with many Christian churches, the people of St. Barnabas spend time in late October and early November to prayerfully consider their continued commitment to the support of the in-breaking of the realm of God. While the familiar alliterative character of time, talent, and treasure help encapsulate stewardship they do not define it! To my mind Stewardship is essentially another way of saying the “the way we live the Christian life,” how we take care of loving God, our neighbour, ourselves, and this beautiful planet in all its splendid fullness.
The manner in which we share of that with which we have been distinctively gifted marks us as those who love God. And it is this manner, this “way” (Mark 8:27-10:52) which, from the earliest days of the church, has baffled those who are unfamiliar with Jesus’ ethos of gifting. His practice of indiscriminately gifting God’s life to others held captive by crippling vulnerabilities must inspire our “way” of living. It makes me wonder if the church should begin a move away from the nomenclature of Stewardship to that of a Season of Gifting. A season for us as we faithfully remind ourselves that the gifts we pass on to others are not about us but about our “way” of embodying the realm of God as a gift to the world!
I hope you will join me in thoughtfully contemplating what, and how, you can gift of yourself to this community as we joyfully embrace God’s work in our midst and beyond.