The Fortune Cookie

and Stewardship Spirituality

by Marc Franson, Stewardship and Canvass Chair

The other night after a meal, I opened a fortune cookie brought with the check. The message was: "If you continually give, you will continually have." Having been thinking about the parish's upcoming canvass, the post prandial treat seemed more like a spiritual revelation and a succinct statement about stewardship. And stewardship...and canvass... are all about our faith and our belief in a loving God, and our response in thanksgiving to all we are and all we have.

Sunday, November 1, is Pledge Sunday. We again emphasize our theme of REALITY, SPIRITUALITY and COMMUNITY. Because it takes money to operate the parish, we do talk about budges, costs, salaries and expenses. That is the reality part. But there is no admission charge for what happens at Holy Comforter. We are a vibrant, welcoming and involved community. But our community is dependent wholly on the financial support of our members. More important, our pledge to support the work of the church here, in the diocese and in the world is spiritual in nature. It is a response to a God that provides abundantly to us. A response to help carry out God's purposes and plans and use the gifts given to us for a greater good, to lift up others, to minister to those in need. 

Making a pledge to the work of Christ is saying "I believe" in a very dynamic way. In our secular world, many spend a large portion of their life amassing wealth, power, success and possessions. We become preoccupied with what others will think. We don't seem to balk at paying premium prices for sporting events, spectacular shows, designer clothes, fine wines or sumptuous dinners. But what is our response when the Vestry asks us to raise our pledge by 5% or consider that dreaded Biblical directive of tithing?

Like the fortune cookie, canvass and the pledge card that will soon arrive provides a time for reflection, to consider the spiritual need to give, to contemplate what is "right" to give back to a God that provides so generously, to seriously think about what role giving should play in our lives and how we commit ourselves to a Christ that we proclaim is the center of our lives. If we really believe that all comes from God, our pledge is not only thanksgiving for what we have been given, but is our faithful response. Stewardship is a part of our spirituality and our pledge to this community is a clear demonstration of where we place our priorities. If that is the case, the words of the fortune cookie are indeed true: if you continually give, you will continually have.