BISHOP'S APPEAL 2013
Diocese of Oakland Bishop's Appeal 2013
2nd SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR C
There is this very interesting story about a woman in Detroit who had two boys to raise all by herself. Their father, her husband, had been shot dead when those boys were babies. She and her boys lived in Detroit's inner city where she was a public school teacher. She had done a wonderful job with them, pouring out her whole life into them. Her two boys were in college and headed toward successful careers when they were both killed in a horrible accident on the bridge going over to Belle Isle in the Detroit River.
What did she do? As opposed to grieving all her life, she went back to teaching in Detroit's public schools, pouring out the rest of her life into other children in order to bring them to successful careers. Because of her, many of her students went on to live happy and successful lives. Interesting, isn’t it?
Now, here’s another story. Back in the time of England's Queen Elizabeth the First, there was a retired admiral of the Royal Navy who in his retirement was now running a thriving business. The Queen asked him to return to military service during a time of this national crisis. The man hesitated, asking " ... but what will become of my business?" The Queen replied: "You look after my business, and I will look after your business." Though he hesitated at first, he returned to the military service to fulfill a far nobler task. I think we can learn from that. When we look after God’s business He will look after ours.
What requirements, what guarantees, do we expect from God when it comes to generously giving our love to Him? Can we have hearts and souls as trusting, as full of faith, and as generous in loving God as the woman and the admiral whose stories you have just heard?
Today, is Commitment Sunday for our Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal and I hope that we, as a community, are NOT fed up with giving contributions each year for the appeal. Of course, we need your help. But why? You may ask. Well, on the practical side, the diocese could not run it ministries without sufficient resources and funding. On the pastoral side, we need you to be on board to pastor this diocese NOT as a Bishop or priest or religious, but as a steward of God. This is the reason why we call this appeal, Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal. As stewards, we allow God to own our life’s purpose. For whom do we live our lives to? For our family? Children? Brothers and Sisters? Or for ourselves? Whoever that is and whatever that is that we live for, God wants those purposes lived in accordance to His and we do that by being Stewards of God.
Our Lenten Theme this year is: “Growing in Faith through the Riches Hidden in Christ.” We have been blest with several “riches” in our lives in various forms unimaginable, and we receive them in gratitude to God, who gave us those “riches.” Our giving to this appeal is simply a small expression of such gratitude. We grow in faith as we make God in charge of our lives recognizing Him as our Savior. Always remember to ask yourself this question whenever you put something in the collection, “Am I giving what I’m living for?” When we give this way, we NOT only give our money, but more importantly, we give our very purpose to God in stewardship.
The woman in the story shared her gifts of time and talent to young minds that, they too, may inspire other people as they grow up. The admiral on the one hand, realized a far nobler business by serving his country. Here’s the question for all of us today, what do you live for, that you’re willing to give?