“All peoples on earth will be blessed through you…” Genesis 12:3b
I gotta’ tell you that I am happy–really happy. This week, as I sat with an interested listener, talking about what we are doing and how it has been for us as we have leapt in faith off this amazing, risky cliff-of-grace, I filled up with tearful joy (yeah I know, surprise, surprise!)—the kind of joy that explodes onto and then out of your heart because of contentment, gratitude and the humble recognition that you are blessed. That moment and these moments remind of Mama June’s voice (my ‘Mother-In-Law’), which has become my voice through the years—“Beloved, we are blessed to be a blessing.”
We are blessed, so blessed – and I am experiencing this coming from you! One of the delightful side effects of our bold decision to turn our money draining property into life-giving and people-meeting mission and ministry is that our perspective has shifted from the naturally fearful theology of scarcity that comes when you are living beyond your means – to being able to see the sale of our property and the ‘cash’ that comes from that decision as reflective of God’s abundant blessing on our ministry. This practical shift in perspective, the faith formation you did during Steven Savides’ tenure as your pastor and all of the hard work we have done through the Crossroads process to understand our mission to be Sanctuary has brought us to a watershed moment—a moment designed by God to move us from holding and securing to sharing and giving; from a theology of scarcity to a theology of abundance. This is a moment for us to see that we have been blessed to be a blessing.
This week (Tues, Oct. 14 @ 7 pm) we will gather for the Joint Ministry Team Meeting (to which everyone is invited) to begin a conversation about how our outreach and justice making ministries will express our mission to be Sanctuary. Guided by the wisdom and experience of the United Church Fund (our professional investment team) our own Board of Trustees of the Endowment are considering a renewed set of investment policies that can both secure our future through healthy investing and allow us to be a blessing through these blessings we have been honored to receive.
As your spiritual leader, I recommend that we make a decision to tithe our blessings—to give 10% of our income to others. There are many excellent reasons to tithe about which I will preach and teach over the next few months of defining our future and setting in place how we intend to live out this new call. But the short answer to why we would do this is that generosity begets generosity. If we operate out of the glorious theology of abundance that understands that God will provide what we need to be what God is calling us to be; if we express a spirit of generosity and care for others with bold giving and proactive mission; if we show the world that we are not afraid of there not being enough, but rather are a people with confidence in God’s grace and God’s generosity towards creation—it will say a great deal about the kind of faith in which we are standing, the kind of faith community we intend to be and the kind of ministries we are able to share.
Yes, generosity engenders generosity. If we put in place a policy of tithing our income, we will be a power of example to others. We will be able to offer amazing opportunities for people to find meaning and purpose through our mission. People will know that their gifts to us will be used for the glory of God and the care of others and it will draw to us people who want to live that way.
And on top of all that—it will make God really, really happy! Beloved, we are blessed to be a blessing. I pray that we might go from this moment to live fully into that call and look forward to talking about how to be generous, blessed Sanctuary.
Rev. Wendy (firstname.lastname@example.org/617.592.5853)
P.S. “Blessed to be a Blessing” is the theme of this year’s stewardship campaign. Watch for more wonderful reflection on the topic!