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3T Stewardship

October 5, 2016

 

This is a written transcript of the stewardship talk given by Nancy Stinson during worship on Oct. 2.

When many hear the word Stewardship they only think of money. But Stewardship is much, much more than that. It is what we in the “trade” call the three “T”s of Time Talent and Treasure. You can’t talk about one without the others. Because if you believe that life and everything we have is a gift from God, then we become caregivers for ALL those gifts including the time we have on this earth, the talents and abilities God has given us, and most importantly the gifts of family and friends we have in our daily lives. I’ve picked up a lot of Stewardship catch phrases over my years at the diocese. My favorite is: Stewardship is everything you do after you say, “I believe.”

For the five weeks of October, we will be talking about Stewardship (the 3 Ts). I get to be the first speaker and have the advantage of surprise. So – Surprise! To help the lucky five speakers, Jay suggested just a few questions we might want to answer.

Jay began with Time and Talent – in other words – our Service to God. Jay’s questions ran along the lines of

  1. How do you serve at Grace Church?
  2. How much time do you spend?
  3. Which of your many talents do you use?
  4. Why do you serve, and how does it make you feel?
  5. How do your gifts contribute to the larger mission of Grace and furthering God’s Kingdom?

How long do I have? Just Kidding! I’ll try to make it short.

  • How do I serve Grace church? For me what you see is pretty much what you get. I help create a visual liturgy that guides us through our praise and worship to God each week. Did you realize our church year is full of liturgical seasons with different colors – green, red, purple, blue even gold and white. You can see it on the altar each Sunday, and I try to extend it to the screen. We are still in the season of Pentecost a very long season (which is green) but for the Fall I have moved from grass green to more of a teal green. I’m not sure any of you noticed, but honestly I got tired of looking at the same old color!
  • How much time to you spend? On average my Grace Church “work”, including Sunday, is about 5 hrs. each week for 52 weeks.
  • My first Sunday was Grace’s first Sunday at TMI – October 18, 2009. According to Google, that was 363 Sundays ago!
  • Why do you serve and how does it make you feel? Simply put, I do it because it makes me happy to give just a little of God’s gifts back to him to further his Kingdom.
  • Which of your talents do you use? The talents I don’t have are obvious. I’m not a preacher, I’m not a prayer, I’m not a singer or a greeter, and for sure I’m not a baker. In fact, it’s an odd set of talents I can give to Grace Church. One is the boring administration piece, but my passion is trying to create and find images that say “it” as well or better than all those words that tend to fly in one ear and out the other. You know the adage that, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” I believe it.

So, let me share a couple of images that I use when thinking about that pesky financial “T” – the Treasure – at Grace Church. But first – remember back to the Fall stewardship seasons in 2010 – 2012. We did the New Consecration Sunday program. In my 20+ years of considering Financial Stewardship personally and professional, this program has had the largest impact on my spiritual stewardship.

First I explored WEEKLY GIVING as they recommended. weekly-giving-doesnt-hurt-words

Remember the story of the frog and the pot of boiling water. You throw a frog in boiling water and he will jump out, but put the frog in room temperature water and slowly increase the temperature and the frog is oblivious that he is cooking. I’m that frog hanging on to the side of the pot with a smile on my face. When I took my old-fashioned monthly gift to God and divided by 4 the weekly amount was a little embarrassing and small. Surely I could do better than that! So I increased the amount (temperature) 10% each year. And that smaller WEEKLY amount does not hurt. Better yet, I’m still not cooked!

Now to the second change I made –AUTOMATIC GIVING prune-bowl-words

Stay with me for a minute on this. Yes, it’s a bowl of prunes, and when you think of prunes you think of regularity, right! This is one of the greatest gifts you can give Grace Church. Regularity! If the budget and leadership can depend on your gift EVERY week, for EVERY month, all year long, they can in turn move forward with confidence and faith to expand the larger mission of Grace church and to further God’s kingdom. No summer shortfall, no running-short appeals.

What a gift to Grace and to Jay. So let’s keep them both regular with our own dose of prunes in the form of Automatic Giving.

And there was another benefit to ME the giver. I let go of my money, and truly gave to God with no strings attached. It didn’t matter if it was Christmas and I wanted to buy more presents for Grandkids. It didn’t matter if I had a $300 water bill PLUS a huge plumbing bill to fix the leak. God’s money was off my radar. It wasn’t mine to use, and better yet, I discovered I didn’t need it. The gift to me was taking a leap of faith that God would give me enough, if I was willing to let go. And he did, and he will.

So let’s recap.

For 2017 when considering Stewardship, we remember it is more than just money. It is the 3Ts of Time, Talent and Treasure. But when you do think of the financial stewardship think of my two images:

The frog in the pot and the prunes in the bowl for Grace Church. This year prayerfully consider Automatic – Weekly – Giving. Just like the frog – it will make you smile.

Thank you!

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