Ever wonder why?
Ever wonder why most churches run stewardship appeals in the fall? In the fall, farmers would know the gifts that they would have on hand for the coming year, both monetary and otherwise, and so it was at this time of year they’d be able to make their pledge for God’s mission at their local church.
Like so many things in our world, this tradition remains strong, and in many ways remains logical. After all, just recently here at CtK - Chris Ed, Confirmation, and Sunday School kicked off. In a couple weeks on October 21st “God’s Work Our Hands” will take place at CtK where we reaffirm our commitment to loving God and our neighbor through acts of love, service and kindness. School has started again, and the holiday/holy day rush begins again.
In many ways fall remains a time of beginnings in the lives of humanity, even as the Earth in this part of the hemisphere begins to go out in the blaze of glory. It remains a good time to talk about stewardship. But instead of “campaigns” or even “appeals,” the community of Christ should call them “invitations to renewed generosity.” After all, our agrarian ancestors were really deciding how to use God’s generous harvest to multiply that generosity through their faith in communities. The same remains true for us.
The ancient Christian Celts would do this cool thing at this time of year. As their last fields were gathered, they’d all come together to raise up the final sheaf and they’d process it back into town, giving thanks to God that God was generous again that year. They’d celebrate the generosity of the Divine, both in the harvest and through the gift of Christ for the world. They’d do as that old hymn in so many hymnals sing, “come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.”
I wonder if every stewardship appeal, every “invitation to renewed generosity” could be a scene of rejoicing as you, as a community, gathered around the generous, crucified and risen One, brings in the collective sheaves to continue changing lives in this world. Come rejoicing, Beloved, bringing in the generous sheaves God has given you!
Tim Brown, Director of Congregational Stewardship Support