The Pastor's Peace - November, 2014
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Towards the end of this month, at the Thanksgiving Carry-In on the 23rd, we will unveil our second annual “Volunteer of the Year” award winner. You can still vote by writing a name on a slip of paper and placing it in the vote box on the card table at the head of the sanctuary. (If you can’t get to the church, call or email me and I can put in an “absentee” ballot for you.) One might ask what great honor is bestowed on our winner of this coveted prize— riches, medals, their name in the annals of history? Well, we will bestow something better than all of those combined: your name on a plaque in the vestibule. Did I mention the plaque is shiny? With such a great prize, it is no wonder we have so many good volunteers at Beaver UCC. Now I might be joking about the draw of our hallowed plaque, but I am not joking about the number of wonderful volunteers we have. Considering you aren’t really given much in return for volunteering, why do people give time and resources to the church?

We live in such a consumer and consumption driven society. Constantly the question is asked about what we will get in return for our investment in something. How are my needs and desires met, for instance, when choosing a restaurant, or a pair of shoes, or a movie. Sometimes we might be tempted to think of the church in those terms, but I would argue that to “consume” church misses the point.

That said, I do think it is important to find a congregation and setting that connects you to God, and that fact is different for different people. Our relationship to God, however,
is not one in which we give God something and expect something in return. First of all, God doesn’t need anything from us. Secondly, God has already given us more than we could possibly imagine and we have done nothing and given nothing for it. In many ways our relationship to God is the exact opposite to our relationships of consumerism. So then why do we give our time and resources to God and the church? I am a simple preacher, but I like to think it is love.

Why do we spend so much time and resources on children? I don’t think they provide too good a return on investment. We do that because of love, because we believe in our children, love them, and want to see them be everything they can be. In a similar way we love God. We have love and gratitude for all God has done for us, and those around us. We worship, and give of ourselves to the church because we believe in the Good News of Christ. We want to help share that news with others, and remind ourselves of it as well. We want to show the same kindness and generosity that God has shown us.

We believe in what the church does, and what it offers to people in need in so many ways. These are some of the reasons I think we volunteer and give. So the shiny plaque is nice, but much more important than that, we give because we belong to Christ’s Body, we work because we are grateful not to be alone, and we show our gratefulness in this season of Thanksgiving every time we gather and worship in Christ’s name.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian