I remember being a small child–five or six years old–and my parents giving me a quarter or two to put in my envelope for the offering plate at church. We had a segregated children’s service at St. Francis, Palos Verdes then, but unlike any children’s service I’ve ever led as clergy, it included an offering and having the children put money into the offering plate. We even had our own envelopes to put our money in, just like the grown-ups.
It was important to pray.
It was important to sing.
It was important to study scripture.
It was important to serve*
AND: it was important to give.
I wonder how much those early years influenced me.
I know most of our congregations are in the midst of their Stewardship campaigns. If you have made a commitment to put your own envelope in the “plate”–thank you. Thank you for being part of ensuring that your local congregation can continue to pray, sing, study scripture, and serve.
And if you have not yet done so, or are trying to figure out how–or if–you can make a financial commitment to your church, I want to encourage you.
Everyone has something to give. And everyone has something to receive. There is no person so poor in wealth or spirit that they do not have something to contribute. And there is no person that has so much wealth or spirit that they are not in some need.
Sometimes it’s just a quarter or two. But that gift is an offering to God, a thanksgiving for a church home, and a fulfillment of communal sharing in the mission of the Gospel.
*Girls weren’t allowed to be acolytes, read lessons, or be priests in my church when I was young, but there were other ways were were all expected to help out and serve, even if not liturgically.