Newsletter - Trinity view


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To the Saints who are in Los Osos,                                                                                                 October 2022


It’s October, and that means different things to different people.  Whatever it may mean to any of us individually, to the people of Trinity it also means Stewardship time. In the United Methodist Church we talk about the stewardship of our prayers, our attendance, our Christian service and our Christian witness as well as our financial stewardship, though for some, that last one may be a touchy subject.


We’ve all heard the complaint, “all the church ever does is talk about money.” While that may be true of most televangelists and some churches, it certainly isn’t true of most local churches. I have a high school friend in Houston, Texas who pastors a 1,000-member church and has always maintained that the church doesn’t talk about money enough.

 

At the very least the Bible talks about it a lot.  It might be a surprise to learn that the word, “Believe” occurs in the Bible 273 times, the word, “Pray,” 371 times, and the word, “Love,” 714 times.  The word “Give” however occurs 2,172 times. (Generous People by Eugene Grimm). It would seem that the Bible is pretty clear that giving is somehow very important to God.

 

It might also be interesting to note that the word “Budget” occurs in scripture exactly zero times. While the New Testament does talk about supporting the work of the gospel, Giving, (in the New Testament at least), isn’t about “paying the bills,” so much as it is about discipleship and spiritual formation.  Jesus clearly said that where our treasure is, our heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-24). How we regard and use our “treasure” is an indicator of what we value, including our relationship to God.

 

I still have a newsletter clipping for over 40 years ago written by one of my pastoral models, George Mann, then pastor of Pasadena First UMC. George tells this story about living our values. A layman made this observation to someone who felt that all the church talked about was money.

 

He spoke of his teenage son, who was always asking for things.  He asked to borrow the car, he asked for fashionable clothes, he asked for spending money– in other words, he acted just like any typical teenager.  The father went on to say that like most parents, he got very tired of the constant requests.  The man who had complained about the church’s requests for money found himself nodding his head as the father talked.

 

Then the father concluded his story.  He told of how his son had been killed by a drunk driver six months earlier.  He finished by saying, “You know, in the last six months he hasn’t asked me for anything, but I would give all that I have just to hear him ask.”

 

This story made a powerful impact on me and my stewardship decisions.  Anything that lives will have needs, whether it is a favorite pet, a child or a church.  Like the father in the story, it is easy to take for granted what we have until we no longer have it.  The lesson of this little parable is obvious.  If a church is alive and “there for us,” it will have financial needs – needs that can only be met by the people who cherish it.  It is easy to hope that it will always be there, but that is only true as far as people are willing to invest themselves in it.

 

 That said, I want to commend the people of Trinity and to express my thanks to all who have been supporters of the work of God through our church. As you can see from our Finance Committee report this year, we are currently “in the black.” That is due to the faithfulness of the people of this church.  In the coming weeks, we will be sending letters inviting us to consider our stewardship choices for the coming year. We trust that God will continue to bless our faithfulness in the future.                                                                                                     

 See you in Church or Online  


Pastor G.