This past Sunday, June 28, Paul spoke at United Moravian Church in New York, NY. Here is part of his message.
Today I want to talk about three words we at the Foundation have spent considerable time discussing: Grace, Gratitude, & Generosity.
If I had a magic wand, I would use it to rid the word “stewardship” from the church dictionary as it relates to encouraging your support for the ministries of the church. It is, quite frankly, the wrong word.
Why are Grace, Gratitude and Generosity better than stewardship? It all begins with the origins of our faith as Christians.
The good Lord gave us Jesus. But not only did He give us His Son; His Son gave us a new way of thinking and believing. When Christ told his followers, “Love one another as God loves you”, what I believe he was saying is – Humbly, but with conviction, share the blessing of my abundant and everlasting love with each other and with the world in which we live.
But God not only gave us Jesus and a new commandment to love one another; He sacrificed His son on the cross – for us.
These weren’t symbols of stewardship – they were and remain THE premier acts of His grace and generosity. God didn’t have to do any of this – He simply did it because it was right and good, and because He loves us.
So the question before us is profound: How will we – each one of us, and this faith community - respond to God’s perpetual, everlasting and always loving generosity?
What is our response? I really can’t say what the prescription is; however, the two pillars in our response must involve Gratitude and Generosity.
From our little corner of the church-world, there is one thing every single person and member of this congregation can do: remember your Moravian Church in your estate plan and support the ministries your faith community celebrates. In other words, leave something behind that will help others carry out the work of your wonderful faith community in perpetuity.
Remember, when you make a gift to your church it will help for generations. It will be wisely invested and cared for. The church will and must follow your wishes – because it is just and right to do so. And while you may not want recognition, consider that in 50, 100, and 200 years from now, you will continue to help the church that means so much to you, in so many ways – What a wonderful act of generosity and gratitude!