After seminary, I was pastoring a church in Texas. It was great congregation filled with wonderful saints. I remember one man who always had a twinkle in his eye and an infectious smile. He loved to tell stories. They were always fun and folksy. People were often lulled by his unpretentious manner. They would miss the greater point, and there always was a greater point.
Once we were talking about the church, and he told me a story about two angels. One angel was called the "Gimme" angel. It was his job to answer all the requests people made in their prayers. This particular angel never had any time off. He was tired and ragged from running around handling the ever-mounting pile of requests. The other angel was called the "Thank-you" angel. He managed all the prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving. This angel was always relaxed and rested. He had so little to do that he took up golf and quilting.
I believe that this story reveals less about the nature of the angels in heaven than it does our own humanity. We are blessed in so many ways, yet we take much of it for granted. We are prone to ingratitude. Jesus himself noted this tendency. After healing ten men of leprosy, only one returned to thank him.
“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’” (Luke 17:17-18)
An honest inventory will reveal how blessed we are. However, those blessings are not to be grasped. Instead, we are blessed to be a blessing. Out of gratitude, we share with others.
During this season of stewardship, this should be our attitude. I would like to invite the congregation in the upcoming weeks to think about our blessings both as individuals and as a church. Whether in a committee meeting or a small group or even a choir rehearsal, take a moment to name things for which we are grateful. At the dinner table each night, talk with your family about the blessings we have received.
Then on October 21, you will be invited to join us in worship at 9:30 AM and a luncheon to follow in celebration of all that God has given. As part of our “thank-you” you will be invited to make an estimate of your financial giving for 2019.
For all the good reasons we give to the church, the most important is that God has blessed us. With your support, together we can use our blessings to bless others.
Grace & Peace,