Whew…. What a whirlwind Autumn! It seems like we just got started and whoosh here comes Autumn.
Let’s talk a little about…Money. I’ve been told so many times that talking about money in church is a bad subject. As a society we share (and some over-share) a lot about our lives. On social media (i.e. Facebook, snapchat, pinterest, and the others) we share a lot about ourselves from what we had for breakfast to our latest adventures. Even in person, when we are chatting with our friends and family, we talk about all kinds of things but we seldom talk about money.
On Sunday, October 22nd, the topic of my sermon was ‘pay to play.’ It was about Jesus’s debates with the Pharisees about paying taxes to the Roman empire (Matthew 22:21). Jesus basically said that we live in a society and we are bound by its rules and so ‘pay up!’ He also made an important point when he spoke “and give to God what is God’s.” It is a short and brilliant statement explaining how everything belongs to God, including the coin used to pay taxes to the Roman empire. Absolutely brilliant.
In November our church will offer us all an opportunity to share our talents, our insights, and yes, our money by making a pledge of support for our church, West Springfield UMC. So, why would you do that? Well, I have to believe that we are on a mission. I believe it is the most important mission of our lives. If you’ve been to a Sunday service when I am leading, you’ve heard me before, we are charged with changing the world and boy are we all needed now more than ever.
I’ve only been at our church a few months but I am already overwhelmed with the flow of love and caring that come from and through our small but mighty congregation! I’m going to start with our amazing preschool. Our director, Suzanne Schneider, is a powerhouse of leadership and an inspiration. Her and her team of teachers provides an invaluable service to our entire community. What a blessing to have a safe, caring, nurturing environment for the young children in our area. That’s a big step in our mission of ‘changing the world.’
Next there are the various organizations like Crafty Ladies, the whole Big-E team, boy scouts, United Methodist Women, Tai-chi, and others that either come from our church or use our facilities as a place to exist. I was lucky enough one evening to visit with the Tai-chi leaders, they are so thankful for having the ability to use our wonderful facilities. Maybe you don’t think about them, maybe they are not in the forefront. I think about how Tai-chi helps people stay fit and be healthy, I think about how the boy scouts help to form our community youngsters into future leaders. I think about the outreach efforts from the United Methodist women to stock our local food pantries…Changing the world.
I think sometimes we take the last part of our United Methodist motto “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” the wrong way. Have you ever noticed which way doors to a building open? They open outward. Our church doors open outward to allow us to reach out into the world and make disciples, to bring the good word, to share God’s love with everyone. Our doors open outward to allow others in and to allow our congregation to go forth and challenge themselves to make a difference.
This November, over a three week period we are going to reflect on our heritage and the theme of stewardship. One of our church leaders, Barbara Bolster, has put together a wonderful theme for us to celebrate our past, revel in our present, and celebrate what we can do in the future. During this period, I am asking you to spend time reviewing what our church means in your life, in our community, and in the world. Yes, I will ask you to bring forward your gifts, your pledge in sustaining and growing our impact in the world over these next few weeks. Jesus did not faint away when asked about money, and we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it for His church either.