Everyday Lessons in Stewardship
I write stewardship articles, but full-time I am a pastor. So sometimes I get so caught up in the other things of the parish that I am not spending enough time thinking about stewardship to know what I want to say on the subject. This week was one of those weeks. I had several funerals and more people sick and an emergency baptism.
In the midst of it all, I realized that I really had been thinking about stewardship. I was thinking about what kind of legacy some of the people had left to their families and to their church and what kind of a legacy I want to leave.
One woman left something to me. It was a legacy of faithfulness which I might follow. She quietly served in this church for most of her 90 years. I didn't know how much she had done or for how long because she wasn't one to announce it. Pastors almost have to be detectives to find out some of what people do faithfully and quietly.
She also left a strong and quiet faith that was happy with what she had been given. I have often heard that the key to real happiness was not in getting more, but in needing less. Her children shared with me that she was indeed such a person.
Another woman who is very ill has given me a commitment to finish what we start for the Lord. She told me in the emergency room last night that she felt she had let me down because she was no longer able to attend council or worship and music committee meetings to follow through on the changes we had been working on when her illness got worse. While assuring her that she had not let me down, but rather passed along her strength, I realized that it was really true. We say these things to comfort, but she has indeed given me the strength to keep going forward even as she is not able.
Babies baptized in an emergency always make me think of stewardship of time. It reminds me to call my children and to hold them dear. It reminds me, since I was one of those babies baptized in the hospital, that all of the time that I have here on earth is a gift from God. Every moment is precious.
More than anything this week I am grateful for the lessons I learn every day that call me back to God love and to His service. Perhaps the best lesson of all is that every experience that God blesses us with has a lesson to teach us about how to be God's people. We never cease to learn as long as we live.
Lord, When I think I have nothing to learn or nothing to share, remind me that I am a work in progress and open my heart to learn from all the wonderful people that you give me to care for and work with in this church and this world. Amen
Copyright © 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at
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 ½ 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.