“Tell those rich in this world’s goods to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money: which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage- to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.”
- 1 Timothy 6:18-19, The Message, Eugene Peterson
Augsburg’s annual stewardship drive has begun and once again we are asked to think about our involvement in our congregation. The theme this year is “Live Generously.”
We all know that we choose to live, work and love together for the glory of God, but sometimes trying to find the energy to reach for a little extra from within ourselves for the church can be a daunting prospect. This is especially true in medium size congregations of which Augsburg is one. But, as National Bishop Susan Johnson keeps telling us, we have more resources than we think we have.
A lot of churches the size of Augsburg fall into the trap of ‘scarcity thinking.’ They might say, “We can’t do that, we don’t have enough money” or “We don’t have enough time, we are all too busy” or “Why don’t you let that big church down the street do it.” The problem with thinking like this is that it’s contagious.
‘Scarcity thinking’ works like dominos, if one person starts to believe we don’t have enough, soon another joins and then another; and then, under the sheer weight of all the negative thoughts and comments, we just give up. And what is a church that just gives up? The doors might as well be shut for good.
I don’t think that Augsburg is at the point of ‘scarcity thinking’ yet. I think Augsburg is at a moment where we are taking time to recharge. In this moment of recharging, though, we need to reflect on what we would like to do next. We need to think about how we can celebrate the joy of people working together towards a common vision. I’m not talking exclusively about money, either. I’m also talking about our time. We actually do need people to do the work! I know that all of us at Augsburg want to serve God and serve others and maintain a generous posture, because at our very heart, Augsburg is generous.
Maybe, to remind us all of this call to live generously, I’ll adopt the call and response my colleague uses at her congregation:
L: God is good! C: All the time!
L: All the time C: God is Good!!
Peace and Blessings,