“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). Please say that verse three times before you keep reading. Even if people stare at you because you are in a public place reading this, say that verse three times.
Say it three times for breakfast, three times for lunch, and three times for dinner. Say it when you wake up and just before you fall asleep. Say it before you get in your car to drive to work and before you get on the train to ride it home. Say it at the grocery store, at school, in the shower, at church. Say it to your children. Say it on social media. Say it to your neighbor and your boss (I dare you!). Say it until it’s like that song that gets stuck in your head and won’t stop repeating that one line or musical section. Well, not quite that far. That’s annoying!
However, at that point, when it becomes so familiar, start listening to it. What is it saying to you? What does it mean? What does it encompass? What parts of your life reflect it, and what parts don’t? What parts of your life do you freely believe belong to God, and which parts are you reluctant to turn over to God’s ownership? This is our exercise over the next month and really throughout our lives of faith. To listen to, wrestle with, understand, question, and integrate this basic profession of faith from the Bible into who we are and how we live.
That’s why it’s our stewardship theme this fall. It says so well what Christian stewardship is. The world and everything in it belongs to God. Not us. God. Our place in the created order is to take care of what belongs to God. That’s our calling, our mission and our sacred duty. How do we care for creation, for ourselves and our bodies, for our family and friends, for our communities, for our church, understanding that all of it belongs to God? There is something to explore here for all of us that can make life richer and more meaningful. It raises our awareness of our real purpose in life and deepens our calling and mission as a church.
Over the next month, our Stewardship Commission will invite us to pledge ourselves to live by Psalm 24:1. What pledge of our time could we give each week to someone or something else so that they know that they belong to God? What talent do you have that could be shared for the benefit of others or the world? What pledge of your money could you make to demonstrate that your possessions belong to God? Stewardship is not only about supporting a church. It’s about becoming generous with our lives because the God we belong to has been generous with us. Join us as we explore this theme and the ways it opens up new possibilities for belonging to God and sharing that good news.
On a youth ministry note, I want to offer thanks to Margery Rossi for her year of work with us. She too has demonstrated that expanding our ministry to include youth is an act of showing them that they belong to God. She has helped us live into the best part of our original youth ministry plan while helping us let go of the parts that do not suit our situation. She has challenged us, led us, walked along side youth and adults, ministered among us and loved us. For all those gifts, please join me in saying, “Thank you!” She has been the youth director we needed to further the expansion of our ministry to include youth and do intentional youth ministry. We send her on to her new call with many prayers of thanks and good wishes for her future.
One more time, say the theme verse. I hope you will join us as we live into what it says and what it means and how we can follow the God to whom we belong with a generous faith.