For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

I heard something recently that nearly broke my heart. A member who had undergone multiple surgeries and hospitalizations leading to all kinds of unexpected debt was talking about her faith. “I feel terrible,” she said. “Why is that?” I asked. “Because I can’t give to the church the way I used to.” And she started to cry. This faithful woman was convinced that despite the significant changes in her life, God (and the church) thought less of her for decreasing her offerings. I was both heartbroken by her words and deeply grateful for her honesty. It gave us an opportunity to talk openly about what stewardship and generosity is, and what it is not.

The scriptures teach that we should give to God out of what we first receive. We give generously of our time, talent, and money – not out of guilt or fear, not for show or recognition, or as part of some kind of transaction with God – but out of the beautiful recognition that we are blessed people who live as daily recipients of God’s awesome kindness and amazing grace. We give in joy and gratefulness for the very particular gifts God gives each of us. 

Different seasons bring different gifts. In Iowa, we know the changes that September brings. Cooler temps. A   return to school. We are starting Sunday School and  Wednesday Night Alive at Trinity – and a new weekend worship schedule with another new pastor! (Welcome Dan Dahl, our Interim Pastor of Spiritual Care!) It’s a new season in our post-pandemic world as we resume some paused ministries and start entirely new ones. 

But we each have seasons in our lives as stewards, too. Generosity is crucial in every season of the Christian life. But the amount of time, money, or energy we can give may vary depending on the gifts and challenges we face. Reflecting and praying about this helps us to give with joy and generosity no matter the situation or season.

Beginning on Sept. 24-25, we will focus on the Seasons of Generosity in worship and how God leads us to joyful giving throughout our lives. This will not be your typical stewardship series – but an invitation to look deeply at your assumptions around generosity and what God is calling you to at this moment. I hope it will be a freeing and exciting conversation for all of us.