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World mission and the stewardship of opportunity

 

The work and ministry of mission co-workers presents us with extraordinary moments for stewardship

July 22, 2024

The Rev. Dr. John WIlkinson

“Stewardship” is one of those strange church-y words that we rarely use outside church and that can carry with it obtuse meanings.

Stewardship is only about money, we say. Or, we say defensively, stewardship is about much more than money.

In my work, I take a “yes-and” approach. Yes, stewardship is about money, and it is about so much more than money. Yes, stewardship is about sharing our financial resources. And, to use the traditional language, it is also about sharing our time and our talent, our gifts and our energy.

But it’s about so much more than that …

Lately, I have been thinking about the concept of “stewardship of opportunity.” What do we do with the opportunities the Holy Spirit presents us? How do we respond with our time and talent and treasure when moments cross the paths of our lives?

Our connectional Presbyterian ecosystem is rife with such opportunities, and our World Mission presents us with extraordinary moments to be such stewards.

That is to say: Even if we have global travel experiences, we will never be able to be in all of the places where our World Mission mission co-workers serve. We will never be able to share the relationships or explore the contexts that these friends will. Few of us will meet such a rich diversity of God’s people, be faced with opportunities to serve, to meet human need, to teach, to be transformed.

And yet …

Our World Mission mission co-workers are not independent agents. Because we are connected to them, with our prayers, with our commitments, and yes, with our money, wherever they go, we are there with them. Their work is our work, their relationships our relationships, their learnings and transformation our own spiritual experiences.

I have been privileged to travel in church-related ways to Kenya, to Nicaragua, to the Middle East, to Northern Ireland. Every trip I have taken has been a transformative experience. And on every trip I’ve taken, I’ve had a sense that the congregation I was serving has been there with me.

In our increasingly connected, yet broken, world, when one of our Presbyterian mission co-workers lives and serves in a place, they take us with them. We are there. It is crucial work, vital work.

We will be connected to these people, and these places, whether we support them financially or not. That is the nature of Presbyterianism, and it is the nature of our faith.

And yet I can’t help but think that those connections are stronger, the ties that bind deeper, when we are stewards of these opportunities as we share our financial gifts. We are there, and our money is as well.

Plus, the need is real, and you can be assured that what you give will make a difference in supporting ministry that matters.

In his fine book called “The Steward,” Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall writes that stewardship “pushes us towards the world.” Here, in our Presbyterian World Mission, you are presented with a tremendous opportunity to respond. Thank you for your generous support.

Click here to make a gift to “Special Opportunities in World Mission.”

The Rev. Dr. John Wilkinson, director, Ministry Engagement and Support, Administrative Services Group

Today’s Focus: Stewardship along with the work and ministry of mission co-workers

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Dawn McClure, Accounting and Operations Assistant, Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program 
Terri McCurdy, Operations Specialist, Presbyterian Foundation 

Let us pray

Loving Creator, we are grateful for the beautiful world you have created for us. Help us to be mindful as we partake of its resources. We pray that we may be good and faithful stewards in preserving and protecting its beauty and its natural riches. Amen.


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