From the Pastor….

Each week in the meditative service that we call “The Beginning” I present a brief meditation based on one of the lectionary texts for that Sunday. Last week, in preparation for that, I was reading a commentary on 1 Timothy 6:6-19. The writer, either Paul or one of his followers, was warning Timothy of the danger of idolatry, not just to objects of worship made by human hands, but to anything that takes priority over God. I was struck by this paragraph:

“Idolatry’s grip is subtle but choking. In most churches we give rightful attention to our physical plant, the gardens, the carpet, the leaky eaves. That is being a good steward of all with which we have been entrusted. Caring too much about those things is idolatry. Putting new carpet in the sanctuary while letting the food pantry for the hungry go empty is dubious at best. Different folk draw the line in different places” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 4, p. 111).

This is an appropriate caution for our congregation at this particular time in our history. Our leadership teams, particularly Building and Grounds and Finance, have recognized that there have been some areas of deferred maintenance that should not be put off any longer. They also see that some cosmetic upgrades might communicate more effectively how seriously we take what we do here.

Accordingly, as funds become available, both through your regular contributions and through money we may receive through the sale of excess land, you will notice some capital improvements, and there may be some others that you won’t be able to see, but that are important in maintaining the buildings in our care. All of that is part of good stewardship.

Also, over the past couple of months you have seen the crates at the front of the sanctuary fill up with food for our “Bless the Hungry” campaign. You may also have contributed to the gift baskets that we put together for the silent auction at Norcross Cooperative Ministry. On Saturday, October 5, our Missions Committee will lead us in a day of service, primarily at NCM, helping to fill the shelves with our canned goods and those from other churches. Soon we will begin collection of our Global Missions Offering, through which we join with others in spreading the Gospel at home and abroad. Later this month we will engage in an offering of letters through Bread for the World, urging our elected officials to support programs that help to alleviate hunger. Throughout the year you will be presented with similar opportunities to show God’s love in our community and everywhere we go.

As the commentary writer noted, “Different folk draw the line in different places.” It is always a challenge to draw a line that divides care for ourselves and care for others at the right place. I’m sure no church gets it right all the time. But under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and if we are intentional in the effort, I believe we can come very close to striking a God-honoring, people-serving, church-growing balance.

If you are helping to lead in any of these areas, I commend you for your commitment to the work of Christ through Parkway and I pray that he will lead us in knowing where to draw the line. If you are a member of our family of faith, I urge you to continue support of our ministries and programs, first through your presence, but also through your financial offerings. They are critical to our continuing effectiveness.

I’m happy to be able to serve with people who see comprehensive needs, right under our noses and around the world, and who respond with generosity and grace.