by the Rev. Dr. Stuart Baskin
If it’s November, it must be pledge time. And so it is. Let me say a few words about why this is important.
1. Pledging is important to you and your life of faith. Why? Because self-sacrifice is among the most important ways we have to train our hearts to follow God. The book of 2 Samuel relates a telling story. King David sinned before God by taking a census of the people. In an act of atonement, David determined to make sacrifice before God. At the top of one of the hills in what is now Jerusalem, David found a threshing floor belonging to Araunah. Seeing David approaching the hill, Araunah offered to give David his treshing floor as well as cattle and sheep for the sacrifice. But David responded, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
2. Pledging is important for our common stewardship of our church. The church exists to worship God and to serve the mission God has given to us. In order to be effective in mission and ministry, we have to live within our means. And in order to live within our means, we have to know what means we have.
Let me pause here to brag on you. Most of the last decade has been very hard on churches and nonprofits, just as it has been hard on many families. As people have tightened their belts, giving to churches and nonprofits across the nation has taken a hit. Giving to nonprofits is only now beginning to reach the levels it was prior to the 2008 downturn. I have heard anecdotal stories from colleagues in ministry of churches having to cut budgets anywhere from 10% to 20%. The there is our church. While we have not seen increases in giving, neither have we seen the kinds of decreases other churches have experienced.
All that to say, you are a remarkable and faithful bunch of folks. But then again, I have always known that. You have simply confirmed what I have known.
My message to you this pledge season, then, is simple: keep up the good work.
Now for the mechanics: On November 13, we will dedicate our pledges to the work of God’s church. Before then, you will receive a pledge card in the mail that you will be asked to bring to worship and place in a basket on the communion table. Of course, if you are unable to attend worship, you may complete your pledge card and return it my mail. It’s that simple. I invite you to keep doing what you do so well and even to take the next step of increasing your giving for 2017.