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pastor corner

Rev. Dr. Devin Strong

Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church

We are coming into the time of year that makes pastors and church members alike sweat. It’s stewardship time, the time when congregations and other nonprofits must start putting together their budget priorities for the coming year and inspire people to help fund those priorities. 

I know parishioners who take a complete hiatus from worship this time of year so that they don’t have to hear any talk of money. Likewise, I know pastors who are good at raising money but very few who like it. Most of us would prefer to visit shut-ins and teach Bible studies.

The problem is that most congregations struggle financially, making money talk painful for all involved. I have served seven congregations and a campus ministry and all of them have been behind budget most of the time!

Despite the challenges, this is probably a good thing because it means that the congregation is stretching its resources as far as they will go. The church should never be sitting on a lot of excess cash.

Good stewardship is putting every dollar entrusted to us to use, making a difference in some way.

That said, it’s never fun to struggle to make ends meet. Like lots of congregations, Spirit of Peace is behind budget.

We need to face that honestly and do everything that we can to be faithful with what God has given us. I am the first to admit that churches have things to learn from the business world.

We need to get our heads out of the clouds and our feet firmly planted on the ground.

But the church is in the business of hope—not hope in our own abilities or moral superiority, not magical hope or hope that someone else will change while we refuse to budge an inch, but hope in a gracious and powerful God.

We believe in a Lord who can make a way out of no way and life out of death.

Our Bible testifies to God’s amazing power over and over again. Eve and Adam thought that they would never again have a relationship with the Almighty once they did the one thing that God asked them not to do. Jacob was sure that his older brother Esau would kill him after he stole his birthright.

Abraham and Sarah were convinced that they would never have a child in their old age. The disciples thought they could never proclaim the Good News of Jesus, and everybody thought that after Jesus was crucified that he was gone for good, but in all those cases and countless more, the Lord of Life brought peace out of anxiety, joy out of sorrow, and life out of death. We serve a God whose superpower is hope. Standing next to this miraculous mountain of evidence that our God will not let us fall, what business do Christians have twisting ourselves in knots over money? Yes, we need to do our part. Our hands are God’s hands, and our wallets are God’s wallet (Yikes!).

But mostly, we need to trust that the God who brought us this far has a good future in mind for us. Spirit of Peace is God’s church. The Lord will see to it that we have the resources to do the work that we are called to do.

The world is filled with money. It’s up to Christians to bring the hope.

God Loves You, and So Do I!

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