Hello St. Lukers,
My St. Luke’s story is fairly unique in that I’ve been coming here since I was born. My parents moved to Central Florida right before I was born for my dad’s job. My mom came from a long line of Methodists so it was only natural that she would want her family to continue in that tradition. My dad, who grew up Catholic, took the path of least resistance, and came along too. Once they came to St. Luke’s, they knew it was the place for them. The rest, they say, is history.
I say this to give you an idea of my background and the role that church and faith has played in my life. The simplest way to put it is that it is something that has always just been there. It’s what I was born into and it’s what continues to guide my life today. I was fortunate to have parents who placed a high importance on faith and wanting their children to grow up in the church. St. Luke’s has been one of the constants in my life. Even during times when I was “lazy” with my faith or moved away to Tallahassee for a few years for school and work, I knew that St. Luke’s was still there and willing to welcome me back whenever I was ready. In fact, little did I know, it would lead me to meeting my future wife after she also felt a calling to return to St. Luke’s after time away.
Having been involved with St. Luke’s for so long, I’ve seen the church grow and do amazing things for God’s Kingdom along the way. Our church is truly blessed to have such talented staff and volunteers working together to carry out God’s mission. Our numerous ministries work hard every day to help make St. Luke’s a home for so many in our community, while our outreach programs spread the message of hope and love to those outside our doors. I’ve been very proud to call St. Luke’s my church home for the past 30+ years.
Over the past three years, I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Finance Committee. Being on that side of things has shown just how crucial money is to make a church function. While there’s every reason to be thankful for all God has blessed us with at St. Luke’s, the reality is that these things have a cost. Time and effort are the easier aspects to talk about when it comes to cost, but money, well, not so much. Like it or not, there is a business side to a church and your tithes and offerings are what makes it possible for us to do the wonderful work of building disciples and the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
Honestly, I don’t really like talking about how I give. In fact, my favorite verse on the subject of giving is Matthew 6:2-4, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
So while I may not like drawing attention to it, I’ll share a time that my wife and I felt a calling from God to go beyond our normal tithes and make an offering to the church. During a sermon on stewardship last year, Pastor Jenn (or maybe it was Corey, I can’t recall) talked in their sermon about giving in times of special celebration and abundance. Our wedding was coming up in November and we knew our family and friends would be generously showering us with gifts to celebrate the big day. We made the decision after that sermon to take a portion of those gifts and give back to the church which brought us together in the first place.
As we continue through our sermon series, God’s Bank: An Economy of “And”, I encourage you to think about the subject of giving and how it relates to you. Open your hearts and minds to listen to what God may be calling you to do. Whether big or small, any offering to God is significant and meaningful. Your gifts are what makes it possible for our congregation who, through their God-given talents, can transform lives, build disciples, and grow God’s Kingdom.
Grace and peace,