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Stewardship Corner ~ 2019-2020
A Mindset of Abundance
Jesus paints a picture of stewardship when he tells the parable of the talents. It’s the story of a master who gives talents to three of his servants: To the first, he gives five; to the second, he gives two; and to the final servant, he gives one. The first two servants put the talents to work, but the third servant hides his. When the master returns, the first two servants report that they have doubled their talents through wise investing. But the third tells the master he buried his talent and gained nothing, and the master furiously dismisses him. The third servant’s response to receiving the one talent is intriguing. Can one blame him for burying it when he only receives one? Perhaps he’s afraid he’ll lose some of his master’s resources. And since he only has one, the stakes seem higher. But here’s where it gets interesting: While we don’t know the exact value of a talent, some suggest that it would be worth nearly a million dollars today! The idea of essentially hiding a million dollars in your mattress seems foolish.
So what can we learn from this parable? While Jesus probably intended to illustrate many things, one stands out to me. It suggests that God expects us to manage our resources from a mindset of abundance rather than a place of fear. The master provided for his servants and gave them more to manage. So God provides enough for us, too, and asks us to invest, manage and share our abundance with others.
We are each called to be wise stewards of the gifts God has given us— our time, our talents and our treasures. To be a good steward is to manage these gifts in a way that reflects our faith and our values.
Teresa J. Rasmussen
President and Chief Executive Officer
[Reprinted with permission from the September 2019 issue of Thrivent magazine.]
Where does your money go when donating to RUC? RUC’s Music and Worship ministry strives for worship that tells our stories creatively in vibrant, honest, and participatory ways, a worship that touches our hearts and stirs our minds. At its best, it is a seamless, electrifying whole comprising words and music that draws others to us. We hope you were stirred by the lamentation services during Lent or our weekly Lenten Pause. Maybe you loved renewing your marriage vows in February. Maybe you delighted in worship at the farm in May or dedicating our garden in July. Maybe you’re moved on ordinary Sundays, or with the ways our children take part, or with preaching and music that is anything but ordinary. Your money lets us host guests, such as preacher Eileen Guenther and the brass musicians at Easter. Your pledge buys small necessities: candles and communion bread; headsets and ribbons; Bibles and shelves. This year, like last, we borrowed from ministries to upgrade some of our sound equipment; maintaining the high-quality standards that RUC has come to expect. Enjoy, Appreciate, Celebrate our Music and Worship gifts!
Generous God, whose giving knows no end, forgive us for those moments when we fear that sharing what we have will lead to our own impoverishment and we keep silent and still, even while those around us are in need. Unclutter our lives. Grant us gratitude for what we have, our daily bread, the gift of life. Unclutter our lives. Give us space, simplicity, thankful hearts. Help us to transcend self-centeredness, greed, and fear, and lead us to feel, think, and act as those who know the hope that is rooted in the generous giving of God. Forgive us when we forget. Amen.
Carol O’Neil adapted
In this moment draw me to yourself, Adonai, and make me aware not so much of what I’ve given as of all I have received and so have yet to share. Send me forth in power and gladness and with great courage to live out the world what I pray and profess, that in sharing, I may do justice, make peace, grow in love, ennoy myself and other people, and your wold now, and forever. Amen
[reprinted in RUC bulletin for Sunday Service, 2019-08-11]
Where does your money go when donating to RUC? In general, the approved 2019 money is spent taking care of our paid staff, maintaining our building and property, Sunday’s music and worship, helping members and nonmembers in need, or throwing congregational and community events. Let’s start with the gifts from our staff. 100% of us are touched in someway through our pastors, administrative support, childcare providers, and sexton labor. They serve us, providing sermons that awaken the spirit or intellectually stimulate our minds; child care and protection; a web presence; monthly newsletter; contract management; Sunday bulletin; weekly e-letter; first-line response to outside queries; child sitting; clean bathrooms, kitchen, church; fresh coffee on Sunday mornings; … the list can go on. Look around you when at RUC. Who of our staff do you have to thank for what you are appreciating now, perhaps taking for granted? Celebrate our staff and the gifts they bring!
Sharon Kemmerer, Stewardship
Are you 70.5 years old or older? Face taxable Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) each year? Want to reduce your adjusted gross taxable income or your Medicare High-Income Surcharge applied to Parts B and D? Then welcome to your opportunity to make a Qualified Charitable Donation to RUC, whether or not you itemize deductions! If you have not yet withdrawn your 2019 RMD, consider transferring it directly to RUC as your 2020 pledge. If your money is with a financial investment company (e.g., Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price), you can find the form online to complete it yourself or call the company to do the paperwork for you. If you have a financial planner, request they process the paperwork for you. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask Bill Kirby, RUC Finance, at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself for assistance. There is no minimum value on transfers, no gift too small. Thanks in advance for considering RUC!
Sharon Kemmerer, Stewardship