Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…
Roy and I have never known anything other than being fully engaged in church life.
I was so interested to read Linda and Paul Honaker’s reflection posted earlier, because it was so familiar, and where my thoughts had led as well when first asked to write for this series of stewardship reflections.
For the Koenig family, when I was a child, weekend rituals began on Saturdays with children’s choir rehearsals in the morning, washing the station wagon for church with Daddy in the afternoon, laying out our clothes and polishing our shoes on Saturday evening. Sunday morning preparation for church included the boys putting an offering in their pockets, while we girls put ours in one of the little white gloves we wore. I can still remember the feeling of the cool, hard coin and soft cotton on my hand. I still have the memory of our mom sitting down each week to write a check for offering and see in my mind’s eye her handwriting on the envelope. We never knew anything else. Offering was a routine dimension of our family’s connection with our larger church family.
We attended worship each week, sitting on the back pew at Clarendon Methodist Church (less risky with six children!). Any of us could find ourselves the recipient of ‘The Look’ from Mom if we dared to misbehave. (She was devoted to us, but we were sure ‘The Look’ could melt steel.) We sang the hymns, read scripture responsively, listened to (or sang) the beautiful music, prayed, and felt connected to Dr. Robertson, even if we weren’t fully taking in the sermons as kids. We were members of choirs at every age, active in youth group, service projects, committees, attended ice cream socials, and all the rest. Roy had a parallel journey with his family, a family devoted to church life and service.
Looking back, we are grateful for the many who gave generously of themselves when we were growing up (including our parents), to provide experiences that laid the foundation for our lives. From them, we learned what giving of self in service to others through a church community looks like.
As adults, Roy and I have tried to give back and pay forward, in some measure, the great gifts we have received. We continue to learn about what it means to be faithful stewards and to participate in ‘generous acts of giving’ as described by James. (Thank you, Daniel, for the exploration of James over recent weeks.)
Each of us, as a part of the whole that is River Road Church, gains benefit from the generous giving of all within our community of faith. As we give of ourselves, we experience rewards far greater than our gift – rich relationships, experience, learning, connection, understanding, and depth. Our time in worship allows us a reset each week; we redirect our compass for the coming week. We are reminded of what we are called to do and be and recommit. We are touched and fortified by expressions of faith through word, prayer, and beautiful music that inspires.
There is so much energy and aspiration within our church! We welcome and serve all who enter our doors. We reach out to our neighbor, particularly those in need of support and care.
Roy and I were part of the Rejoice and Give Thanks campaign committee several years ago. The campaign theme, ‘God’s House, Our Time,’ is as important a call now as it was then. It continues to be our time to support our church home, so we can build on our current strengths, but also live into the great potential we see. Our opportunity this year, and every year, is to come together as a faith community to affirm the deep and broad mission of River Road Church.
We do that through ‘every generous act of giving.’
Written by Jane and Roy Terry