Not long ago I was passing through my high school hometown of Rochester, IN. I took a one-block detour off of the main drag in order to see my old church, Trinity UMC. I have good memories of that church on the corner of 8th and Jefferson. I sat in the balcony during worship and enjoyed many pot-luck dinners in the basement. God put such good folks around me in that place.
I turned left and came to the corner and what did my eyes see—nothing! I mean nothing! The church building had been razed to the ground and now there was nothing but grass. I was a little taken aback. I knew the congregation had relocated to another place. In fact, I was on my way to see folks there. Yet my soul had a slight moment of disorientation, and emptiness. I hadn’t imagined, in my lifetime, that this spiritual home would absolutely disappear.
On visiting with folks from that church, I discovered that the old building was just too much to maintain. It had become a weight that detracted from their work and bled their finances. It was cheaper and more efficient to move on. It was time to let go.
One of the more underappreciated aspects of stewardship is its periodic call to “let go.” Whether old buildings or old ways or old possessions, sometimes the things we worked so hard to accumulate and hold become more of a burden than a blessing, or less important than our new or renewed purpose. God calls us to new places, physically and spiritually, and to move on we need to let go. Some examples might be:
- For our heart to show more compassion we need to let go of some money.
- A church committee we serve on has been important to us for many years, but not so much now. Perhaps God is calling us to let go.
- The Spirit nudges us to a new interest, or new ministry, and we have to let go of the time we spent doing old things.
- Our personal home isn’t a match for our lifestyle. It is time to let go and move on.
- We realize that one day we will have to let go of all our things, so we make a good plan for giving away our stuff as we head to the next life.
- We realize that to be faithful to God and self, we need some healthier and stronger relationships. We build new ones and let go.
- We realize our church is more about people and purpose than about brick and steeple. As good stewards we must let our hopes comfort our tears, then move on.
Truly, the sign of a good steward isn’t just in achieving for God, or maintaining for God. Sometimes it is about letting go for God. Blessings on you as you consider what to take, what to hold, and what to release in your life.
For more information about stewardship and the care of money, give us a call at your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana