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Giving is integral to the life of faith for anyone

Leah Atkinson Bilinski, pastor of Fauntleroy in Seattle and member of the Stewardship Committee recently shared the following reflection.

Leah Atkinson Bilinski, Fauntleroy pastor, offers comments on stewardship.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. -Deut. 6:5

I commonly hear from people explaining why a family member or friend doesn’t attend church is that they believe the church is out to get their money.

I heard this so much at my last church in rural Missouri that one day, when a member said this about a brother, I replied, “He’s exactly right. We’re out to get his money.” The member stared at me with a smile, expecting I was joking. I wasn’t. Instead, I continued: “We want him and his heart and faith, courage, strength, determination, questioning nature, loyalty, commitment to good efforts and all the other beautiful things about him, and we want his money. We want all of him just like God wants all of him.”

There’s a story of a person who wanted to be baptized but when the time for immersion came, they paused to remove their wallet and hold it out of the water. It’s a ridiculous picture. The ridiculousness highlights the truth: it is impossible to step into the embrace of God, commit ourselves to discipleship with Christ, and hold our wallets aloft and separate. God wants all of us. There is nothing that we are or that we have that doesn’t get immersed.

I don’t encourage members to give because I’m fearful about meeting the church’s needs or my needs. I encourage members to give because I love them enough to point to full immersion in God’s love and their walk of faith. I want them to know the joy of giving their whole self—all their heart, soul, might and enough of their wallet’s contents that they feel they’ve faithfully given all they could from that, too.

May all our hearts, souls and might lead each of us deeper into the joyful, all-in possibilities of God.


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