“To God Be the Glory” is the theme of our Stewardship Emphasis this year. It comes from a hymn by Andrae’ Crouch in which there is this line: “To God be the glory for the things he has done.” And the best way I know to talk about the theme is to simply pass along what Ken Foster, the president of the congregation, said a couple of Sundays ago during the worship service when he introduced it, because I can’t say it any better than he did.
He began by mentioning, of all things, a re-run of the old television comedy Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. The episode involved Gomer dropping a live grenade during exercises and his sergeant quickly acting to save his life. Gomer was stunned and said as only Gomer could say, “Ga-ah-ah-lee!” Then he immediately set about doing anything and everything he could for his sergeant, so thankful he was for what the sergeant did for him. He became absolutely committed to showing his thankfulness.
And that, Ken said, was a good way to understand our theme and what stewardship is all about: thankfulness for what God has done and giving glory to God, glorifying God, by committing our time and talent and treasure to Christ and to Christ Our Hope. And God has done much for us both as individuals and as a congregation. As with Gomer’s sergeant so too with God: in his love for us in Christ he has saved us, delivered us from death unto life, and continues to save and rescue us day after day, save us from our own great foolishness, rescue us from all that seeks to undo us. And God is there for us day after day, blessing us in so many ways, giving us strength to see us through, gracing us with a hope that lifts us, granting us the faith to manage all that comes our way, loving us unto new life again and again and leading us in the way he calls us to follow in Christ. And as a congregation God has been with us and blessed us in so many ways down through the years, bringing us to this day, gracing us with a purpose, giving us the courage to welcome all to the love of Christ, helping us to be Christ and be Christ to others in both our congregation and community. As individuals and as a congregation, we have seen the glory of God and the most natural response is to commit ourselves to glorifying God in return.
But, as Ken went on to point out, that’s not an easy thing to do because just the word commitment itself makes many people in our culture very uncomfortable. Commitment to a job, to a relationship, to family, is difficult for a number of people. And especially is this true when it comes to committing to God, actual ly committing time to serve in some way or committing abilities to help serve others or committing money to support a congregation and its ministries in the name of serving God. You just don’t hear much about commitment anymore, even though it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. And surely, it’s at the heart of being Christian: being absolutely committed to Christ and his way and to his body in this world, his church.
Ken then concluded by asking all of us to think about what God has done for us as individuals and as a congregation and consider ways we each can glorify God by committing our time and talent and treasure to Christ and to Christ Our Hope. Or, to put it another way, say what Gomer Pyle would say, “Ga-ah-ah-le, thank you God!” and do what he would do and show our thankfulness in every way we can.
God be with you,