An older gentlemen came to my office. He asked to meet. Though, when he entered, I immediately began talking. This is what happens when you are used to a large full time staff. I had been sitting in the Old Log Church for several hours in my cozy office (heated with a small space heater at my feet), watching the snow flurries turn on and off outside. It was magical but I welcomed the company.
"The Lord will provide," he said to me on a number of occasions and on this day too. Easy for a successful business man and accountant to say. On some days I am an ESTJ. For those of you who don't know the Meyer's Briggs personality test, it means: extroverted, sensing, thinking and judging. Apparently, today I was this. So, along with verbally processing the workings of the church, I was also a little skeptical with the phrase, "The Lord will provide." I might have inwardly rolled my eyes. "Okay," I say. Then I paused. "That should be my motto," I said. Then I imagined (because sometimes I am an INFJ, introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging) painting the phrase on a large board and bringing it to every board meeting, committee meeting and small group gathering. Placing it in the center and lighting a candle. I also might have imagined getting a t-shirt and across the front, I would have printed "the Lord will provide."
The problem is that my love language is: acts of service. Yes, the Lord will provide and, what are we going to do? How are we going to be in service to each other. How we going to act in order to move the organization forward? To his credit he also said, "the Lord will provide," means "we" will provide, the church will provide.
He really came to visit me because he wanted to tell me the things he wants me to stop doing and the things he wants me to do. Because, my love language is acts of service, I can do all the things... sometimes. A humbling moment for me as I held my breath and received the professional feedback. He had a file of papers and our church budget, scribbled notes and typed thoughts, so he could remember to impart all of his wisdom. And, he did. And, there was something about him beginning with the phrase "the Lord will provide" that disarmed me. For one of the first times, I was able to fully receive feedback. He ended his time with me saying, "I might not be able to offer Spiritual service or worship leadership, but I can offer this." I responded, with slightly misty eyes, "this feels spiritual to me."
The work of a small church is saying "the Lord will provide" all the time, printing it on signs and making t-shirts with large words across our chest. The work of a small church is being reminded of this over and over again because the Lord will provide. We will provide. The church will provide. This, my friends, is the Sacred Season of Stewardship.