“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17, NRSV
Every pledge campaign begins with gratitude, and that is how I want to begin my message to you this year. I am inspired by your generosity – by the grand acts that you have accomplished this year, by the single acts of love and kindness, and by the unseen work you have done in the service of God and our church community. I cannot say it enough: thank you.
Our pledge campaign this year focuses on our gifts; not just on the things we wrap with paper and bows, and not just the things we put in envelopes or give from our bank accounts, but all of the gifts that we give throughout the year. We frequently talk about the three-legged stool of Time, Talent, and Treasure when we discuss our gifts, without really focusing on the power of each of those elements. I am grateful and aware of the ways in which you have given all three, and today I want to focus on your time.
Time, they say, is the greatest gift because it is a gift that we can’t replace. When we give of our treasure or our talent, they come from renewable streams to some extent. But time, once given, can’t be taken back, reclaimed. This is why I am inspired by the ways that you give of your time to this community. Whether these gifts of time are measured in hours spent participating in our services, or volunteering in the community, or in minutes spent on the phone or in person reaching out to each other, taking care of each other, this community is generous with its time!
In his timeless work, The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry says of the Prince’s tending of his beloved rose, “It is the time you have spent on your rose, that makes your rose so important.” Our church is that rose, tended gently and blessed abundantly by the effort, love, prayer, and time you – and all who came before – give to us.
In this season when we uphold our gifts, I hold you up in light, love, and leadership. Over the coming weeks you will be hearing more about our gifts and how vital your pledge of time, talent, and treasure is to the ministry of this parish. You are a gift, each of you, and you are gifts to each other and to a world in need of our love, blessed with every perfect gift that comes from God above.