Pastor Bill's Musings

Here's a collection of Newsletter articles and other musings from our Senior Pastor.
6/1/2017 6:42:00 PM
Pastor Bill
Summer Vacation

I’m looking forward to vacation this summer.  We’ll have a week away on the Oregon Coast with (almost) the entire family in tow.  We have a house rented, side trips planned, and the beach-front menu all planned out.  Everything is set so we can forget about everything here and enjoy a time away.

The best part about vacation, though, is all the money I save while I’m away.  I don’t have to pay the phone bill or the electric bill.  The city gives me a week off from paying for water and sewer.  That week of credit on the mortgage when I am away from the house really adds up when I can get in all four weeks of vacation a year.  It’s like skipping one month’s payment every year!

Now, before you put that call into your congressmen demanding a repeal of all of the tax perks that clergy get, be assured that I’m just joshing you.  My expenses keep accruing when I am away just like yours do.  I still have to pay the utilities and the mortgage and, yes, even the tax-man.  Just because I am away doesn’t me that all expenses cease.

Yet many think that’s what happens at church.  A lot of folks, when they are out of town or don’t attend church, think that the church has no expenses while they are away.  Many people come to church less regularly during the summer or attend other churches while they are away, and many don’t give to the church if they don’t attend church.  Yet, the work of the church goes on.

Just as the city still provides water and trash collection, the utilities still provide electricity and gas, and the police and firemen are still on duty while you are away, the church’s ministries continue.  Resurrection still has bills to pay, services to hold, salaries to pay, missions to support and backpacks to pack.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), where a portion of your offering go, still feeds the hungry in foreign lands, supports missionaries who spread the gospel, provides relief for refugees and victims of disasters, prepares candidates for ministry, publishes curriculum and scholarly works, works to unify the church universal and brings people to Christ. 

My grandfather wasn’t much of a church goer.  I can think of just a handful of times he joined us on a Sunday morning.  But every week when he came for a visit or when we dropped by his house, he would hand my mom an offering envelope and say, “Here, Doris.  Here’s my dues.”

Of course, there are no “dues” in the Lutheran Church, but there are things that are “due” to God.  When asked about paying taxes to Rome, Jesus said, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  And truthfully, everything is God’s.  As faithful stewards of all that God has given us, we give back to God a portion of what he has provided us, not because it has come “due” in our account.  We give on account of what God has first done for us, and because of that we give God his due.

As you travel or take a break this summer, please remember that the work of the church continues, even in your absence.  Support Resurrection.  Support the ELCA.  Give God his due for all that he has done for you.

Bon Voyage!

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