“Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They are like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
As I reflect on giving, I am drawn to our prophet Jeremiah’s words on trust -- for I believe giving requires great, divine trust. Trust that our gifts—money, time and talents—will be stewarded and cared for. Trust that each of us will continue to value what the others have to offer. Trust that our shared pool of resources will be used for holy purposes. Most of all, trust that the spirit of God will continue to guide us.
With great trust, there is great vulnerability. Every gift we offer is precious. I admit that it is not always easy for us to share ourselves so openly, but when we do so, we slowly uncover gifts we witness in one another: singing, teaching, preaching, leading, inspiring. We are a more faithful community because of it.
As Rev. Karen McArthur reminded us in her sermon this past Sunday, when we make financial commitments to the church, we are not giving our money away. We are sharing our offering in community, all for our common use – one larger family in faith. We decide together, when and how to use those resources. Just as we talk about budgeting, income and expenses with our loved ones or housemates, we talk about finances as a church. As we collaborate, dream, pray and work, we not only give each other our trust, we give each other our hearts.
When we trust and give, we are in relationship—we are in covenant with one another. As I reflect on my own giving, I am reminded that I did not get to where I am today without many, many others. Family, friends, teachers, mentors, who helped me by sharing their resources, talents and time with me. Over the years, it has become more apparent to me how much we need each other. As our circumstances change, our giving may change, but our covenantal trust is always there. The trust we are called to hold together is like the tree the prophet Jeremiah speaks of. No matter how many heat waves or droughts we endure, we, as a community, will never cease to bear fruit. We will always have a community and a God who loves us unconditionally.
With a trust-filled heart, I share my sincerest gratitude for this church: a church full of life-giving worship, music, spiritual care, social justice work, and Christian formation programming for all ages. With each gift we give, we share ourselves vulnerably with one another and with God, a God who is still speaking… through us and around us… a God who trusts us.
Jaz Buchanan, Pastoral Associate