Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. - Phil. 2:5-8
God always closes the gap. Whatever the distance we create in our brokenness, God continually seeks us and closes that distance in grace. The clearest evidence of this is God coming to us in the flesh, humbling himself on our behalf, dealing with sin and death, and becoming the firstborn within a large family who will all be raised, just as he was raised from the dead. (Rom. 8:29-30)
Correspondingly, we are created to seek that same God, the source of all. As the Psalmist says, "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you." (Ps. 63:1a) St. Augustine puts it this way in his Confessions, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Because God always closes the gap, is always right there waiting, our seeking requires only turning, turning toward the One who creates us and longs to connect.
In the seeking (God toward us, and us toward God) the connection is made, and in connecting we commit. When we connect with the Source of all, there grows within us the awareness that all we have, all we are, our very breath, is a gift from God. We commit ourselves, all we have, all we are, our very breath, to God's use and glory. As my mother used to say to me (as both blessing and command) when I was a young paperboy, "Peter, every paper you deliver, you deliver to the glory of God!" Her words transformed my understanding of work and stewardship.
Stewardship is not a season of fundraising; it is foundational piece of our spiritual journey. It is the outcome of seeking God, of connecting, and committing all of ourselves to God's service – not 10%, not 1%, not 50%, but all of it. Part of what we are called to commit is ourselves through the work of our church community, Messiah.
This journey of seeking to commitment is not a one-off event. God is always there, but our seeking is blown by winds of our human frailties and fears. We invite you once again, in this spiritual journey of stewardship—a journey that flows from seeking to commitment—to seek God with us, to connect again to the source of all grace, and to commit yourself to offering all you have and all you are to God's work and glory.
Yours in Christ, Greg Rhodes and Pr. Peter
Next Week: Living in Gratitude: The Mechanics of Making a Financial Commitment