"Transforming Generosity"
October 11, 2018, 7:56 AM

Dear Ones,

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry often describes us as “The Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.” 

As we begin to talk about stewardship of our parish and wider community, I want to pose these questions:  What does that mean for us? What is God calling us to do as followers of Jesus?

As Episcopalians, we love our worship.  Our liturgies inspire us.  The Eucharist is at the center of our lives.  We believe the Bible is the word of God and we are people of the Word. 

As part of the Jesus movement, we follow the One who loves us so much that he gave his life so that we might understand God’s never-ending love for all of creation.

And here’s the hard part: As followers of Jesus, we are called to give all of ourselves to God’s work in the world.  I know that many if not most of you give generously of your time and talents to our larger community, showing the love of Christ in the world around us. 

In the sixth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus, after teaching us how to pray, talks to us about money, our needs and our hope.  He reminds us that we cannot have two masters.  We cannot love God and money.  But Jesus also says, "…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

He finishes by calling each of us with these words, “But seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

How would our church —how would we — be transformed if each of us remembered these words of Jesus?  We are constantly challenged to examine our priorities and to set new ones.

Establishing new priorities for ourselves and for our church means transforming how we think about generosity. That transformation will call upon us to look for generosity in every aspect of our work and in every aspect of our lives. Remember the tenth chapter of Mark’s Gospel: “Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

Jesus calls us to take the long view. Again he challenges us to give all of ourselves to God’s righteousness and trust in God’s care.

What a challenge! What transformation!

I hope you’ll join me as we work together to transform generosity in our church, our community, and our lives!