It’s hard for me to overstate how much I will enjoy this upcoming Sunday, October 27. First, it’s the second birthday of our younger son, Ollie. He’s a joyful addition to our family, and we are leaning toward the idea of keeping him. It’s also Reformation Sunday, the day we celebrate our historic witness in working to reform the theology and practices of the medieval church. I will belt out one of my favorite hymns, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” with gusto. And finally it’s Dedication Sunday, the day we dedicate our pledges for the upcoming year as an act of Christian discipleship.
As far as important days go, it’s kind of a trifecta for me. All three events give shape to my life as a father, a pastor, and a follower of Jesus.
I suspect a reasonable person might see why the first two reasons are worth celebrating. But why get excited about dedicating pledges? Who cares about that besides the associate pastor for stewardship and the stewardship committee? Why are we even asked to pledge? I’m glad you asked.
I pledge and give to the church, and encourage others to pledge and give to the church, as a spiritual discipline. David Gambrell, an associate in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Theology and Worship, writes, “The call to love God and neighbor helps us understand that spiritual disciplines are gifts of love, not acts of obligation.”
I don’t give because I have to, I give because I understand my giving is a gift. And I believe the church is not only deserving of my gift, but I trust the church will wisely steward it to share God’s love with others.
My faith is enriched and enlivened by my giving. Just as when I squeak out the words of the Apostle’s Creed, or sit in the silence of our time of confession, I’m reminded that by giving, I’m participating in the ancient acts of faithfulness that shape my identity in Christ.
I give to the church because I love the church. I give because I know that God loves me (and you!). I give because I have watched as the church has nurtured that divine love, call for justice, and extension of grace-filled community in my own two children. I give because I want to model the kind of Christian life that tells of abundance, not scarcity.
This Sunday we will dedicate our pledges (promises of financial gifts we will give in 2020). We hope you can join us. If you would like to pledge before this Sunday, you can do so here. Or we invite you to fill out a physical pledge card and drop it in the offering plate as it goes by.
I invite you to expand your imagination for generosity, as together we offer our gifts and dedicate our pledges to God, with gratitude and joy.