We continue to hear faith stories from our Stewardship Ministry at St. Mark's as we enter the Lenten season. This week we hear from Jeanne DeCosta as she shares her understanding of giving time to God.
Have you ever actually heard the voice of God? You would think it would be a life-changing event. In my case, I suppose it was at least a turning point. At a time of great strife in my life, I heard a voice in my head clearly say, "it will be okay". I can't say everything worked out how I wanted it, but I do know that my faith was strengthened. At that moment, I knew I wasn't alone and that life would go on and even somehow improve. Today, I look back on that event with awe; I realize God was actually talking to me personally. I had other moments of feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit, but nothing like the time I heard His voice.
As the years have passed, I have an ever-growing awareness not being able to put my faith in myself; that I need to rely on God. However, just because I know God knows me doesn't mean I make time for Him every day. Don't misunderstand. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about God; I just don't make time for Him every day and my thought is usually that I haven't talked to Him.
Since I have been at St. Mark's I have had many opportunities to grow my faith; through Sunday worship, music, daily office once or twice a week and the various other ministry opportunities. I'm still in a seeking mode though - where do I fit, what works for me? If I had my way, I would rather ask "where am I comfortable" or "what do I want to do"? But those are the wrong questions. A friend told me a couple of years ago that I am of an age where in many Protestant churches, I would be called an "elder" and that I should change my mindset and grow into one of accepting calls to serve in various leadership roles. This is where I need to accept God's will, not my own.
How to do I do that? At a Planned Giving workshop I recently attended, someone was talking about how we misunderstand the phrase "time, talent and treasure" and how we might be defining "time" in the wrong way. We give of our treasure when we put our pledge or offering in the plate. We give of our time and talent when we volunteer for the numerous ministry opportunities in the church. But maybe that is wrong thinking. What if "time" really means making time for daily conversations with God, and that the talent and treasure automatically follow?
This is where I need to make some changes in my life. As we all know, lifelong habits are hard to change and adding something additional to one's daily life calendar is a challenge. I started a new job a couple of weeks ago and it starts earlier than my last one. I have to get up 45 minutes earlier now to get to work on time. Since God should be the first appointment of everyone's day, I am going to get up even 15 minutes earlier (with God's help) and spend that time with Him. Saying daily morning prayer alone is easy; making the time to do it is my challenge. Relying on God instead of myself will help me meet that challenge.
Join me this Lent and beyond in making a commitment to allow God to guide our lives. Faith is a lifelong journey and we all need the unerring guidance of God in Christ.
Member of the Vestry and Stewardship Ministry