The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
October 24, 2021
Some years ago when David Letterman was the host of the Late Show on CBS, he was known for his humorous “Top-Ten” lists. This week I’m going to offer a list of my own, the subject being “The Top Ten Reasons to Make a Pledge to Grace Church.”
Yes, coming up this weekend is Pledge Sunday. If all has gone according to plan, most of you reading these words should have received a letter from me and a brochure entitled, “Let the Doors be Open.” The invitation is for all of us to share in the ongoing ministry of reopening Grace Church as the neighborhood and city arise from the pandemic. We do this by pledging (or promising) a financial gift to be fulfilled in the year 2022. Making a pledge (and keeping it) is good for the soul. Here are my top-ten reasons why I think Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive:”
- Making a pledge says “thank you” to God for all the blessings of this life.
- Making a pledge is a tangible expression of love for God. Imagine trying to maintain a loving relationship without ever showing it. It doesn’t work with people, and it doesn’t work with God.
- Making a pledge frees us from guilt. Most of us receive a barrage of solicitations from worthy humanitarian agencies. Because we give to the church does not mean we don’t support other causes too, but we know we are at least doing our part through an organization we trust.
- Making a pledge empowers the ministries of the church.
- Making a pledge joins us to a mission bigger than ourselves. Yes, we are made members of God’s family through baptism, but annual giving to the church is like a yearly renewal of our baptismal vows.
- Making a pledge teaches us to be generous, and generous people are invariably happier people.
- Making a pledge puts us in a right relationship with money and possessions. We realize that what we have we only borrow briefly from God. We are stewards, managers of what belongs to God. We are putting God’s resources to work through God’s church.
- Making a pledge teaches us to be more disciplined with finances. If we “give till it hurts” right off the top, then we have to be extra mindful of how to apportion what remains.
- Making a pledge puts us in a place where faith is possible. It teaches us to depend on God. Strangely, we all want to be God’s faithful people, yet at the same time we spend the best of our energies chasing earthly security, pursuing lives where faith is not needed, or even possible. Jesus wants us to live by faith, not with the illusion of material safety.
- Finally, making a pledge teaches us that we cannot out-give God. The more we learn to be generous people, the more we realize how much we have. Conversely, the less we give the less we seem to have and the more anxious we become.
Making a serious pledge that you yourself will notice as the year unfolds is an invigorating spiritual discipline. It is good for the soul. By it we open the doors for God’s blessings to flow.
See you in church!
The Rev. J. Donald Waring