From the November issue of The Carillon . . .
My Dear Friends in Christ,
A true story is told about a church where a very wealthy man rose to tell the rest of those present about his Christian Faith. “I’m a millionaire.” He said, “and I attribute my wealth to the blessings of God in my life. I have worked all my life and now God has blessed me. He has given me this gift and I return it as I ought.”
He went on to recall the turning point of his faith. As a young man he had just earned his first dollar, and he went to a church. At that meeting was an Episcopal monk who discussed his work. At the time of the offering to go to the work of this missionary, the wealthy man knew that he would either have to give a tithe to God or nothing at all. How did he know it? He knew it as being right in his heart of hearts. So at that moment he decided to give a portion of himself he had to God. Looking back he knew that God had blessed that decision and had made him wealthy.
When he had finished his story in the church, there was an awed silence. As he moved to his seat and sat down, a little old lady leaned over to him and said: “I dare you to do it again.”
When we start out it is easy to remember that the gifts and opportunities we are given are from God. But something happens along the way. We forget who the owner is. We come to think of the vineyard of our life as something we own, rather than stewards over.
I think each of us needs to take the “the dare to do it again” in our financial stewardship response for the mission and ministry of Caroline Church for 2017. I have asked the vestry to commit themselves and to lead our parish into giving back to God what is God’s.
As Rector, Wardens and Vestry we acknowledge that God is the owner of his vineyard here in Setauket. I continue to give the biblical and Episcopal Church standard of a tithe, giving back 10% for our ministry here at Caroline, the vestry has committed to give back a proportional tithe to the Lord, and I encourage each of you to do the same.
We thank God for blessing us, our families, this great parish and all the sacrificial gifts we have given throughout the year to Caroline and to other charitable organizations. God has richly blessed us and we say thank you in our stewardship of time, talent, and money of this great vineyard Our Lord has placed us in.
Striving to reflect the generosity of our Savior,