My beautiful, beloved church here in Murfreesboro has been talking a lot about stewardship lately. And that’s normal for this time of year, you know, the stewardship drives and pledges for the coming year. But we are also doing a capital campaign to raise money for a (much needed) larger parish hall.
As a young adult who barely squeaks by, living paycheck to paycheck, it hurts me a little bit knowing that I can’t really afford to give as much as my heart wants to give. The spirit is willing but the bank account is low… I haven’t ever really been able to pledge a certain amount because I have changed jobs so often in the last ten years. I give what I can, when I can, but I am saddened that I can’t make a commitment to give what I want to give. Even talking about money sometimes makes me squeamish and uncomfortable.
And I know in my heart of hearts that that is okay. It’s okay to put a fiver in the collection plate on those random Sundays that I happen to have cash on hand. But it seems like I’m not REALLY an adult, I haven’t made that rite of passage of filling out a pledge card and actually following through. More often I am on the receiving end of charity from my church. (Those wonderful, beautiful people helped me raise the $10k I needed to go to Hong Kong in a very, very short amount of time. Blown. Away.)
What I think I’m missing is for someone–anyone–to get up during those stewardship talks and say, “Look. I know money is tight for some of y’all. If your pledge is $5 a month then that’s $5 a month we can count on in the coming year. And that is wonderful and means just as much to us as those $1000 pledges.”
I know I’m not the only young adult out there that struggles. We are not in the same place as our elders were at this time in their lives. By the time many of the older parishioners were my age they had established careers and families. That’s just not happening like it used to and it is affecting how the church functions. Maybe in a small way right now, perhaps, but in 10, 20, even 30 years, what is that going to mean?
If I can support public radio for $5 a month I can certainly support my church for that much (if not a wee bit more). But it needs to be said, dear ones. Even non-young-adults who are struggling need to know this: It’s okay to give what you can, however small you think it is.
I’m going to pledge my small amount to my church because even though it’s only a little bit I still want to give back. While the story of the faithful steward is the one that is most often quoted in times like these, I think the widow’s mite story resonates too. Maybe even moreso. It definitely does with me.
Maybe I’ve come to that Rite of Passage after all.