A Month of Stewards Appreciation
by Pastor Bill Geis

Almost two months ago, Monica celebrated a birthday. For several years now, my practical (and frankly, quite frugal daughter) has prepared her own “gift-giving guide” for her birthday. This year’s edition was well prepared in advance of the day. Not long before the day she became a teenager, she asked with great interest, “Dad, do you go shopping for my presents or does Mom do that?”

I responded that over the years her mom and I had shared that joy. Back in the days when we lived in Oklahoma, Sandi and I actually enjoyed making a special outing to pick out gifts for our children. But I was a little embarrassed to admit that in the past few years, I had not been the shopper. Sometimes I learned of the choice as she was opening the gift.

Frankly, if I were the gift shopper too often, we’d never get the job done. I tend to put too much thought and creativity into the selection—like the time I gave my wife a diamond ring on our 20th anniversary wrapped in 20 boxes each covered in pictures from one of the 20 years of our marriage. Sandi and Monica are much more practical! Monica’s got the list and even the stores where to find the best deals. Sandi is quite comfortable with that approach and is more than happy to get the job done.

Our love is expressed to each other in many and different ways. We all have our contributions of love and affection to one another--sometimes in giving the gift; sometimes in the trust that comes from asking; sometimes with creativity and sometimes just practical and on time; sometimes spontaneous and sometimes planned; sometimes we surprise and sometimes we’re the one surprised.

Two weeks ago, you surprised me with a pastors appreciation gift, and I suspect all but a few were surprised as well. Like a loving father who cares so very much, but couldn’t do the shopping, you were wondering, “so what did we get him?”

I felt badly that I couldn’t unwrap the gift there in the middle of our Reformation service. So let me unwrap it before you now. Wrapped up in the bag was a little bit creativity, a little bit of practicality and a lot of love. Four gifts were wrapped in that bag—a beautiful set of bookends carved as praying hands, a gift card to the movies, a meal at one of my favorite Asian restaurants, and a card of appreciation.

These were a thoughtful combination that I will enjoy for sometime to come. When I reach for my Bible or my hymnal or my favorite devotion between those bookends, I will do so reminded of your love and appreciation for me. When I enjoy my favorite dish or engage in a little light-hearted fun, I will think of you. Most of all, I will cherish not only the card given that day, but the many expressions of appreciation I receive from so many year round.

October may have been appreciation month, but I think November should be “Stewards Appreciation Month.” Together we are the stewards of this ministry. I’m privileged to be the pastor called to lead us. It would never happen without the many demonstrations of God’s grace exercised through our shared hands of love together ministry—sometimes through our giving, sometimes in the trust that comes from asking, sometimes with creativity and sometimes practicality, sometimes spontaneous and sometimes planned, sometimes we surprise one another and sometimes we’re the one surprised.

I love being your pastor. I appreciate you! Thanks for your love, your gifts, your partnership and friendship. And in your honor, I declare this to be a month of Stewards Appreciation. I especially look forward to celebrating that all together in our joint service and banquet on November 23. Thanks for being my friends.

(c)2008 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 | www.sjlagrange.com
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