Dear Friends in Christ,
As we close in on All Saints’ day and then approach Thanksgiving, I am reminded of this saying:
“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all;
but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”
The above statement is attributed to Cornelia ten Boom. "Corrie" ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. For her actions, she was imprisoned by the Nazi’s in Ravensbruck concentration camp where her sister Betsie died in December of 1944, after 10 months of harsh treatment.
Corrie survived the concentration camp and after the war she returned to The Netherlands to set up a rehabilitation center. The refugee houses consisted of concentration-camp survivors and sheltered the jobless Dutch who previously collaborated with Germans during the Occupation. Her best-selling book The Hiding Place was made into a movie in 1975. After suffering three strokes, she died in 1983 while residing in California. She was 93.
As we finalize our stewardship campaign, Corrie ten Boom’s statement reminds me of Jesus’ statement found in the sixth chapter of Matthew, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Corrie ten Boom’s treasure was the Gospel and its cost was her freedom, her safety, and the lives of her family members. She held clandestine worship services using a Bible she smuggled into the camp. She was totally committed to Christ. She is a 20th century role model for those who love the Lord.
While I neither feel called to be a martyr like Betsie, nor called to serve a term in a concentration camp like Corrie, I can relate to striving to place the important things in God’s hands. I tithe, pray daily for each one of you, for those who are sick, and of course my family and friends. I strive to commit my life to Christ and beg forgiveness when I fall short or when I waste my money on something frivolous. In short, even though I am a sinner, and have my sins constantly before me; I strive to lay up my treasure in heaven. For it is God through Christ where I know I am fully known, fully loved and fully forgiven.
The leadership of Trinity has demonstrated that they too are committed to Christ. The vestry, as a group, has pledged a large portion of our budget and I am thankful for their commitment to Christ and His Church. The average Episcopalian nationwide only pledges approximately $3000.00 a year. While Episcopalians tend to be the most highly educated and wealthiest Christian denomination, they still come nowhere near the standard of the tithe in their giving. I pray that this year Trinity will buck that trend.
On November 22, Christ the King Sunday, we will gather all of our pledges and offer them to God. It is my prayer that each of you will consider returning your pledge card that day with a sacrificial gift. Finally, I will leave you with the following story by Dr. Towns of Thomas Road Baptist Church entitled “Who owns the French Fries “:
“A man buys his little boy some french fries. Then the father does what all fathers do, he reaches over and takes one french fry to taste it. The little boy slaps his father’s hand and says, "Don’t touch my french fries." The father thinks that his son is selfish.
The father knows that he bought the french fries and they belong to him. The father knows that his son belongs to him. The father could get angry and never buy his son another french fry again to teach his son a lesson, or the father could "bury" his son in french fries.
The father thinks, "Why is my son selfish, I have given him a whole package of french fries; I just want one french fry." God has given us money, when He asks for a tithe, people figuratively slap His hand and say, "Keep Your hands off my French fries."
God owns everything we have. He wants us:
- To manage what we have for His glory. God expects us to manage our time, talent, and treasures.
- To give back a portion of what he has given us.
I hope and pray you will meditate upon this short story and then fill out
your pledge card and return it on November 22. Wishing you a most Holy
and Blessed All Saints and hoping to see you in church …
Your Servant and God’s,
PS: Fall back. Set your clocks back one hour Saturday evening,