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 Those yearly deficit budgets can rob us of hope long before the money runs out.  That is what the miracle was about.  We have hope.  We see that God has blessed us with all that we need to do the work that God has given us.


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
March 20, 2006

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A miracle for 'Miracle Sunday'

As a stewardship educator, I sometimes get nervous about bequests to churches. A big bequest landing in a congregation's bank account can make congregants believe they no longer need to share what they have been given -- as if their need to give is tied only to the budget of their church and as the need lessens so does their offering.

But sometimes bequests are a part of God's small miracles.  I believe that happened recently at our church.

We had announced a Miracle Sunday.  You may have read my article about it.  I had made a promise to the congregation that if we did not raise $20,000 in pledges toward a projected deficit then I would rip up all the pledges so that if we did not all do our share then no one would have to.

Well Miracle Sunday came and went.  The money did not come in on schedule, but it was still coming in.  I know of at least one older person who lives on very little who increased a pledge in great faith.  I think I was most worried about those.  They had stepped out in faith and I wanted them to get to be a part of a miracle.

So two weeks ago I announced in church that I perhaps we were operating on kairos and not chronos.  We had received $15,000 in money and pledges but had not quite met the $20,000 goal.  Money came from all directions, including inactive members and former members.

But still I was worried.  Perhaps I did not have enough faith.  And then we received a small bequest.  I had been expecting it. A very faithful woman who was formerly our church secretary and had been an Associate In Ministry in another area before her retirement.  She had left money to several churches so I had been guessing that perhaps each would get $1,000.

But the bequest, which came in around the time of the Miracle Sunday, was for $5,300.  Just about what we were short in pledges.  Okay maybe it didn't come from us, but all of it came from God just the same.

We are not counting it in our Miracle Sunday total.  But because it goes into the budget it lowers the deficit and we have met our goal in a sideways way.

What I had said before we started was that yearly deficit budgets can rob us of hope long before the money runs out.  That is what the miracle was about.  We have hope.  We see that God has blessed us with all that we need to do the work that God has given us.

God has been doing so for over 130 years here at St. Paul, but sometimes it takes a small miracle to remind us again.

I pray that our story can give all of us hope.

Lord,  We give you thanks for giving us all that we have and for giving us hope for the future.  A future that is focused on you.  Amen

 

 Copyright (c) 2006, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.
 

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.