In many churches, this is Stewardship Season: The time of year when members are asked to pledge what they plan to give to the church the following year.
We've been trying to call it "Pledge Season" instead, acknowledging the fact that every season is Stewardship Season! To be stewards means to take care of something that you do not own.
We consider ourselves to be stewards of God's creation, of God's people, and of everything that God has blessed us with: our bodies, our minds, our talents, our education, our families. We are also stewards of God's church. We do not own the church, we get to be part of it and "use" it for whatever we may need: spiritual nourishment, a supportive community, to learn about our faith, an opportunity to serve others, and a place where we are accepted and loved for who we really are. But, even if many of us say, lovingly and proudly, "my church...," it is not ours. It is God's. It was here long before we ever came and will be here long after we're gone.
That's a bit of a relief: We don't have to save the church! We don't have to fix it, or make it grow. God will do all of that.
But it's also a big responsibility: While we are here and have chosen to be part of the church, we are called to take care of it, and to represent Jesus to the wider community. God will give us everything we need in order to do that.
In church speak, we talk about the three "T"s: Time, Talents, and Treasure. Those are the gifts we have to share, and how we can contribute to the work of God in this world.
How do we use our TIME to do God's work, and to love our neighbor?
How do we use our TALENTS to be followers of Jesus and help build the kind of world he envisioned?
And how do we use our TREASURE, our money, to manifest our values and beliefs?
Yesterday we asked the worshiping community to think about this: How much of my time, talents and treasure am I willing and able to give to God.
I invite you to do the same: Think about your "T"s and how you will use them. The world needs you. The world needs good people who will not adhere to the standards of this world (work, wealth, beauty, youth, athleticism...), but the standards of God in whose eyes every living being is beautiful, is valuable, and has a purpose and a place in God's plan.
How much of your "T"s are you willing to give?
May God bless each and every one of you, and your "T"s, so they may grow and bear fruit and fill the world with God's love.