By Richard Lindberg, Synod Stewardship Team
Once the Presidential campaign was over, I thought email, Facebook, etc. would get back to normal. Then came Black Friday, shop local Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Even the ELCA had an email about Giving Tuesday. This is also the time our local church wants my pledge for next year. I almost forgot St. Nicholas day. When I grew up in Seattle, I had never heard of that and my wife said it wasn’t something in her family, or church background.
It isn’t even Christmas and there have been too many demands on my time and money. How can I relax and appreciate Advent? Has the world put so many demands on me that I can no longer appreciate what is really important?
It is time to put all of this into perspective. What do I believe and who do I worship? My faith starts with relationships to God and people at my local congregation. My giving starts there and that helps define who I am. I have heard the saying, “show me your checkbook and I will know who you really are.” How I spend money and how and where I give it away shows my relationship to God, neighbor and the world. I can’t give to every worthy cause that sends me mail and email, but I can evaluate the cause and how it reflects my faith.
When I become thoughtful, I reflect on the mission of my church and how it spends the monetary contributions it receives. I look at the ELCA and all of the mission work in the US and around the world. I have been blessed to personally see the results of ELCA mission work in Africa and India. I have seen the devastating effects of Malaria and supported the Malaria campaign. I have witnessed the poor and seen the results of hunger campaigns providing food to people. I know about our young ELCA men and women who are spending time living and teaching in poor rural areas around the world as their mission.
Our ELCA does marvelous things. I am too old to go and do those marvelous things myself, but I can support those who can. My congregation supports all of those things through the pledge I make each year. I have been blessed and hope that I can share my blessings here and around the world.
I encourage you to do the same. When I give, I have a great feeling and joy in my life.