You may very well remember the financial crisis of the American car companies several years back. The “Big Three” – Ford, GM, and Chrysler - were on the verge of financial collapse until the federal government stepped in to bail them out.
You may also remember the debate over the wisdom of the bailout. Some argued that the companies should be allowed to fail the way others do when faced with bankruptcy. Others said that failure of the Big Three would have devastating consequences on the U.S. and global economy and lead to the loss of too many jobs.
No matter how you feel on the subject (I was personally in favor of saving those jobs), you would have to agree that the demise of the Big Three would have shaken things up in this country. Even the prospect was somewhat traumatic.
We Christians have a different “Big Three” to think about. It’s called the Holy Trinity, and it is far more reliable than car companies or anything else we’ve come up with. In fact, it’s eternal. No bailouts, no rescue packages, no political maneuvering is needed. Just faith in a God who is expressed in a three-fold way as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As Christians, we love to think in threes. So it’s no wonder that we’ve come up with a Trinitarian approach to Stewardship. Our Commitment Campaign each year focuses on three important aspects of giving: Time, Talents, and Treasures. Like our understanding of God, it is a holistic approach to stewardship—three aspects of the same central concept.
Time—We’ve all got it. We complain about never having enough time to do all that we want. But there is time to do what we can. It’s really a question of our priorities. Is God important enough in my life to set aside some of my precious minutes or hours to worship or to serve? My belief is that we all have time to do something for God and/or the church if we want to. It’s just a question of choosing to do it.
Talents—This is a truly gifted congregation. And I’m not just talking about singers or builders or computer experts. Every person in our church is gifted by God with something to share for the benefit of someone else - whether it’s cooking a meal, visiting a friend, clearing a lot, serving on a committee, or using one of the many other talents. The opportunities, and the needs, are endless.
Treasures—Times are tough for a lot of us. Money is tight; expenses are increasing. But to be honest, we’re still pretty rich. Most of us have some discretionary income to spend on things of importance to us. We put our money where our values are. People of faith place a high value on God, who has already given us everything we have.
By these measures, our church has a pretty good hold on the Stewardship Trinity. We have a devoted, giving, multi-talented congregation full of folks who share their three-fold resources in deeply faithful ways.
I’m hoping that if you are one of those good stewards and that you will pray and ask God to help you offer even more. If you haven’t yet taken the step into the Trinity of Giving, I want to urge you to make a move in that direction. You will find there a surprising ability to give far more than you thought you could and a God who never stops giving to you.
We all have been given much to build our lives upon, so many blessings to enjoy. Giving with a heart of gratitude, for all that God has blessed us with, multiplies that feeling of blessedness. In this upcoming Season of Thanksgiving, let’s pray to commit to God first, offering our time, our talents, and our treasure in new ways. Thankfully, that’s something we can all do. It’s really as simple as one, two, three.