Sharing the Gifts that God has Given You

Dear Christ Followers,

     We stand at the edge of opportunities to share our gifts with those in need and those beyond the walls of St. Luke’s.  Many of our programs like Sunday School for Children and for young adults, music, and outreach, that were designed to promote the Christian life here at St. Luke’s have been eliminated for lack of funds. Your gifts, of time, talent, and treasure, are needed to continue the stewardship and legacy here at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  Your participation is invaluable. Your participation defines who we are as “The Church,”…as a community of faith.

     In the months ahead, you will hear me talk about Paul’s Letter to the Romans, in which he said, we have all been given gifts by God.  He tells us that we are to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices to God.” The word sacrifice indicates total commitment. There are no half measures with a sacrifice.  If there were, then it would no longer be a sacrifice. When Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, it was a total commitment. So when Paul talks about a living sacrifice, he means that our whole lives should demonstrate the same kind of commitment that God has to us.

     As you will remember, I told the story of a little lad who came to church one cold wintry morning to get out of the blustering wind.  He had been trying to sell newspapers but not a single customer had passed by.  He sheepishly entered the church and hoped to pass his hour unnoticed on the back pew.  Though the Sunday crowd was slim, the preacher delivered a stirring message, and when the sermon was finished, he called for the offering.

     The ushers went from row to row, and as one drew near to the little newspaper boy, he stopped in front of the lad and held out the plate. The boys’ eyes were fixed upon it, and after a long pause, he asked the usher to place the plate on the floor.

     The boy did something very strange and beautiful.  He literally stepped into the offering place. And when he looked up there were big tears running down his cheeks.  He said, “I don’t have any money, I haven’t sold a single newspaper today, but if Jesus did all the preacher said just for me, then I will gladly give my life to him.”

     All of us, young and old, need to hear Paul’s words again, afresh, “offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.”  There are no age restrictions…young people, you can use your gifts in many ways in worship, in leading, helping, serving and caring with energy and enthusiasm.  Middle age people, even when you think that your world doesn’t leave you any spare time, Christ body needs your skills, your leadership, your faith, and your eagerness;  …elderly people there is no retirement age for using God’s gifts.  Even when your own bodies might seem to be slowing down Christ’ body needs your wisdom, your strength, your faithfulness, the calm confidence of your experience more than ever.

     I want to challenge you to give some thought to the gifts that God has given you.  Seek to understand and then unwrap those gifts to use them in service and ministry for him.  “Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing him.”

     I believe God is calling every member of St. Luke’s, this faith community, to a new way of thinking about the church and your role in it.  Paul says, “Let God change the way you think then you will know how to do everything that is pleasing to him.”  

     As we come together as the body of Christ we become the voice of the voiceless… Please pray and then fill out the stewardship card in your prayer books this month.

May God Bless you abundantly,

Fr. Rex