Come, ye thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home;
So begins the hymn Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (UMH 694). With the pumpkins arriving this weekend and the ever so slight cooling of the weather—not to mention the proliferation of pumpkin spice everything—it seems like an appropriate song for the season.
In reading about the history, I learned that a Harvest Home was a festival celebrated in village churches of England where they displayed the first fruits of their harvest and gave thanks for all that God had provided. Fall is often a time of thankfulness. Though many of us no longer participate in the autumn harvest, we are still surrounded by the bounty of season. It is a good setting for our stewardship campaign, More Than Enough.
Most of those reading this are blessed to have their physical needs and wants supplied. Sleep might run low sometimes and we feel the pinch of inflation; however by and large our families are safe, clothed and fed. We have leisure time to spend with people we care about and resources to share. We have so much to give thanks for. Stewardship this year aims to remind us of that abundance.
We are richly blessed and part of growing in our discipleship is sharing those blessings with God and the community. When we first meet Christ, we are overwhelmed by the lavish grace and care of God. The more we grow in faith, the more we are drawn to emulate the ways of Jesus. This includes giving of our lives to see God’s work done in the world. That means offering our talents, our time, and our treasure so that other people might meet Christ and be overwhelmed by grace. Like the rhythms of nature, it is a cycle of receiving and giving that deepens our spirituality and spreads the gospel wide.
You have already received some information about planning your giving for 2023. Over the next three weeks you’ll here more about what’s been happening this year and Grace and what we hope for next year. I encourage you to begin praying about your place in the work of our amazing church community.
In worship we will explore what it means to give with wisdom, courage, and serenity. You will hear from lay leaders and staff about their hopes for Grace. We’ll also highlight information about the various ways you can give. On the 23rd of October, you’ll be asked to bring your commitment card to worship and make a pledge for 2023.
This pledge does help us plan ministry for the coming year. But we do not ask for pledges only to look at our financial position. The act of promising resources to God is an act of faith. It asks you to trust in the provision of God and to commit yourself to the work of making disciples in the coming year. This is an important step in every person’s faith life. Begin considering with your 2023 step looks like.
If you have never given or volunteered, make 2023 the year you start; gifts of every size make a profound difference. If you give sometimes, commit to a regular schedule of gifts. Make that pledge between you and God trusting that you will be equipped to carry it through. Consider moving to automated electronic giving to make it easier. If you are a regular giver already, take a look at your finances and begin working toward a full tithe.
God has surely blessed us with more than enough to reach our neighbors with the good news. I hope that you will join me in committing to that work for 2023.