The Pastor’s Pen: August 4, 2019

We continue to thank God for the way the Shiloh family has accepted the challenge of the Covenant Commitment Campaign. Each week, faithful people continue to rise to the occasion with their pledges and their contributions. Our pledges have exceeded our goal!  The Campaign will run through the end of September. Be reminded, however, that all pledges are due – paid in full – by September 15. We also must remember that these gifts are in addition to our tithes. With the help of the Lord, we will achieve our sacrificial commitment and meet our $500,000 covenant with the bank by September 30. To God be the glory!

Luke 12:13-21 provides Jesus’ position on stewardship. He states that stewardship is about our relationship to possessions. When a man asked Jesus to help him tell his brother to share his inheritance with him, Jesus replied (verse 15), “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Jesus goes on to tell the story of a farmer who has been blessed with a bumper crop, an unusually productive harvest. The farmer has so much yield that he considers building bigger barns to contain it. Yet, the farmer has not considered the finality of life. God says to him, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?”

When I was in seminary, I read the biography of Mohandas Gandhi, a man who was internationally renowned for causing the end of Britain’s colonial rule in India. On the back cover of the book, it showed all of Gandhi’s earthly possessions at the time of his death:  a linen cloth, sandals, and a pair of eyeglasses. We Christians know that when Jesus died, all His earthly possessions consisted of a robe that the Roman soldiers gambled for at His crucifixion. 

Many of us harbor fears about our futures. We wonder if we will have sufficient resources to age with dignity, to afford our medications, to make ends meet, etc. Yet, when we meet our final hour, we will have nothing to take with us but our relationship with God. We can never be true stewards of God’s gifts until we come to grips with our relationship to possessions.

The Senior Choir sang an anthem at Asbury last Sunday afternoon that included text from Psalm 127:2: “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” What we do during our time here on earth has its place; though God welcomes and even commands human effort and participation, our efforts will not stand in place for our obedience to God’s Commandments.