The stewardship sermon was delivered by a visiting pastor, Ben joked, because it is a sermon where the pastor asks the congregation for money.
Church regulars, having immediately identified my family and I as visitors, began to apologize to us about the sermon before the service even started. Little did those church regulars know, but we came to hear Ben speak (without a care as to his topic — note, we are NOT church go-ers…we are Ben Daniel groupies). And Ben did not disappoint either us or the Stone Church “regulars.”
Paula and I clearly learn something from each of Ben’s sermons. This morning, however, the message we received was probably a bit different than what Ben had intended. Ben wanted us to focus on stewardship through financial commitment to the Stone Church. But we are not members of the Stone Church and, while we don’t give as much as we should, we do donate quite a bit of money. So the part of his sermon that I focused on was different. I focused on “stewardship.”
My focus was not on the stewardship of the church community, but rather on the stewardship of my overall community. I came away from that sermon asking myself “how can I take a small step toward contributing more to my community?”
If you are a resident of California, you may have noticed the small telephone book that arrived in you mailbox earlier this month. It was just under 200 pages of rubbish. It was (and is) the election booklet for the November 7th general election.
Let me be clear…200 pages is ridiculous. Moreover, that 200 pages only covers the 13 propositions on the ballot — we are also voting on 17 elected offices. To call this election daunting is indeed an understatement.
My initial reaction last month was exasperation and denial. We have a 3-1/2 year old and a six month old. We are alternately sick and not sleeping (sometimes both at the same time). The last thing we need is an election that requires study commiserate with a college final exam.
My thought then was, I will do my best, but I will not kill myself for this thing.
My thought after Ben’s sermon is: (i) I am not alone; (ii) I cannot vote without becoming informed; and (iii) it is up to me to contribute to both of the preceding problems.
What is it the Hopi Indians say? “We are the ones that we have been waiting for”?
The solution that Paula and I came up with is to throw an election party. So we are.
It will be potluck…it may include slow food…but there will be lots of good discourse among a number of impressive, thoughtful folks.
Ben and his family have already said they will come.
I can only hope that one afternoon and evening will be enough. Certainly, however, in merely facilitating a better election preparation for us and our friends, Paula and I are already having a better impact on the community than before Ben’s sermon.