Psalm 112 speaks eloquently about the theme of “Living Generously.” It defines such generous living as being gracious, merciful and righteous. To live in such a way, we are to conduct our lives with justice. Such living in today’s world is both a tremendous challenge and a source of inner peace.
Generous living is much more than what we do with our money. We are called to be kind to one another and to all living things. We are called to deal with each other honestly and humbly.
Living Generously is call to action to each of us as followers of Jesus. He showed us the way to live generously: by welcoming the outcast, by overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple, by dining with the poor and healing the sick, by teaching, by forgiving, and ultimately by giving his life so that all might have life abundant.
On Sunday, October 9th, we embarked on a three-week annual giving campaign: “Living Generously”. You have heard from fellow parishioners and me about how we are striving to live more generously as we offer our time, talent and treasure. Our campaign will be particularly challenging this year as we attempt to fill spaces left by some very generous givers who have gone on before us in the last twelve months into the nearer presence of God.
As we meet this challenge together, we give thanks for many new blessings that have given to us as a parish family – particularly the ministry of Christopher Richardson with our children and young adults (have you seen him “high five” a six-year old yet?), our vibrant music program (including the completed organ – wow!), and the overwhelming number of outreach ministries and the literally thousands of souls they touch (In August I was present to give out over a thousand toothbrushes to Guatemalan school children in a single day!!!).
Our ministries here at Saint Mark’s are empowered through the generosity of all of our members. Each week, we are nurtured in word and sacrament. We are called by God to care for those who are ill or hurting, and to welcome all those searching for a community of faith.
Saint Mark’s strives to be a generous parish. Some of our members tithe, giving ten percent of their income to the church. Others commit a certain percentage, make a one-time annual gift, or give, as they are able. While giving levels vary in the congregation, what is important is that each of us give in a way that reflects our commitment to living an abundant and generous life in the name of Christ.
Faith is a journey we make together, not a solo expedition. The annual giving campaign is a time set aside to reflect upon the practice of intentional giving so that we live into the generous and abundant life God is calling us. Jesus said, “I come so that all may have life and have it abundantly.” Living generously brings us closer to that abundant life.
Over the next three weeks, I invite you to prayerfully consider how you might live life more generously. Please consider how your standard of living lines up with your standard of giving. Think about the impact this community of faith has on your life and the wider community. Pray about God’s generosity in your life and then make a pledge that reflects that generosity.
On October 30th, plan to offer bring your folded pledge card to the altar as we sing the stirring hymn: “Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices”.
I am personally grateful for the wonderful, generous friends I have at Saint Mark’s, for the ministries we share, and our ongoing commitment as Christ’s “heart, hands and voice” to a broken and yearning world. Please join me in helping our church to further expand its footprint in the community and the world at large in 2017.
Blessings and Peace,
Paul St. Germain