We tried something different for our stewardship theme this year. We gave everyone an opportunity to participate in the parable of the talents. If you aren't familiar with it, it is found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25.
For two weeks we had envelopes with $10 bills available. The instructions were to take an envelope and use the money to bring the presence of Christ into your world and then come back and tell us about it.
Unlike the landowner in the parable we didn't necessarily ask people to come back with money, just stories.
Well we had some great stories:
One woman purchased fleece on sale and made 19 hats for children at our partner school in Buffalo.
One woman made pies, invited her red hat group to come and purchase slices of pie and share in a social event. She brought back $70 as well as a story of several people going to read the parable.
One man was thinking about what to do with his $10 when he saw someone collecting cans and bottles from the trash and gave him the $10.
One woman bought gloves to hand out to homeless people.
Several people donated the money to different causes that they cared about from Episcopal Relief and Development to the Heifer Project, to other causes that they cared about. Several of those people used the $10 as seed money and matched it with their own funds. Some used the initial $10 to challenge family and friends to also give.
One person reached over her pew and gave the money to another parishioner who was fundraising for a cause that touched her life.
The love of Christ spread out from St. Paul's into a wide variety of places in a wide variety of ways. We will never know how many lives were touched by all of our talents and willingness to share.
The challenge of stewardship, of course, is to consider how we use all the gifts that God has given us to bring the presence of Christ to our world all the time. That is the most basic definition of stewardship.
As the landowner in the parable said to his servants: "Well done, good and faithful servants."