A pastor in a book about giving recounts the following story: when he was a young boy, his mother used to send him on occasional errands to the local florist to pick up bouquets for the family dining table. He writes of how much he resented this chore. He didn’t care about having cut flowers in his home. He didn’t want to stop what he was doing to walk all the way to the shop to get them. On top of everything else, he really didn’t want to be seen out in his neighborhood carrying his purchase. He feared his friends might mock him, or incorrectly assume he had a romantic partner.
Ten years later, this same boy, now a young man, fell in love. Instead of avoiding florists, he actively sought them out. He went out of his way to buy beautiful tokens of his esteem for his beloved. He didn’t think twice about carrying any flowers he bought out in public. In fact, he relished doing so, happy to project an outward and visible sign of the inward location of his heart.
Stewardship is one of those words that gets used in churches a lot. So much so that it is easy to register a vague sense of what’s being communicated without really embracing the root definition embedded within. While we often associate stewardship with financial commitment, at its center stewardship is about caring. Caring for people or places or things so that they are sustained. At its most life giving, this is a joyful process. Stewardship is a caring response to an experience of love.
On Sunday we will kick off our annual stewardship campaign. Our theme this year is Making Space for God: Nurturing Love in Chelsea for 175 years…and counting! I hope you will join us for a forum after the 11:00 service. Over the next weeks we will hear from four parishioners, who will share their care and love, their stewardship, for Holy Apostles. And I urge you to consider prayerfully your own response. Maybe that looks like helping out with one of our ministries, making or increasing a financial pledge, or some of both. How will you nurture the love that makes space for God here at Holy Apostles in the coming year?