Monday, November 10, 2008

Giving of time and talents...

The stewardship talk I gave at church on Sunday (or something close to it!)

This week I’m giving a temple talk on time and talents, although do I need to remind you to turn in your envelopes reflecting monetary stewardship?

I was asked to talk about time and talents, how they relate to my faith experience, and how they have been a large part of my life. A bunch of ideas then mulled in my head about how to approach this, what stewardship means, and what I wanted to say.

This week, ideas still churning in my head, I was meeting with a physician collea gue and eyeing all his books. At some point we began talking about various books when all of a sudden one caught my eye: Stewardship. I borrowed it—not religious, but it is from a public service perspective. It says “Stewardship taken seriously is not an economic strategy or a way to achieve higher levels of productivity or to succeed in a marketplace. It is also an answer to the spirit calling out.” I like that.

Stewardship can occur at so many levels—I recall the hardest time of my entire life early last December when I reacted to a drug and was thrown into a deep depression. I remember driving around, picking Lori up from daycare, wondering how I was going to get through that day, and so on. And then I found myself driving to an Advent service at Holy Love. There, for the first time since the reaction started, I found a sense of peace, a sense of pause, and I realized I needed help. To me, stewardship can be that simple--it's about relationships, with God, with this community, in the simple context of coming to church when I am struggling most in life.

First Corinthians says,
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone." - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 [NRSV]

So, for me, thinking further about time and talents (not sure about the talents piece!), I’d include being a lector, assisting minister, and singing in the choir. When I was first a lector long ago (another church in Minnesota), it was just something I wanted to try for no apparent reason. Same with most things I do—I just want to try them. Then I find a sense of passion—when I lector, I think about the scripture more than when I listen to other people reading it—the text seems to mean more. When I read the prayers of the people, the same thing happens. When I sing certain music in the choir, I feel it pretty intensely. If I do not feel the passion, I may not continue to do something.

You have a sheet with possibilities for time and talent stewardship. Please consider choosing to try a couple. You may find a new passion. But more importantly, you will feel the sense of community here, and the community here reaches to broader communities—there are opportunities there too. So I’ll close with the following quote. I love quotes and this one I try to read before bed each night, as a way of reflecting.

“Listen to your life. Pay attention. Observe. That wonderful phrase, "religious observance," means observe religiously. Don't just get through your life, as all of us are inclined to do, on automatic pilot, not much noticing anything. Listen."

Thank you.


Arlene said...

Living in the moment and knowing we are at the right spot in the right time. Living and knowing.

You said it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Hey Beth,
good job! I love the Corinthians quote...I may have to read that one daily!! I also like that you encouraged people to simply TRY new things in their faith experience. What a good reminder that we can engage in our community and faith by biting off small pieces to find our passion. Well done!