Sabbath: The Time Tithe
The Vestry this year decided that for our stewardship campaign we would ask not only for a financial pledge but that we would also ask our congregation to consider how we are generous with our time.
Some think asking for time is a lesser gift than a pledge of money. I do not feel this way. I will likely have some more money, tomorrow, next week, next month. This moment however will never come again. Time is the most precious gift we have to give.
The Sabbath is our guide here. When it comes to our financial giving, the tithe (10%) is Biblical standard we use. When it comes to our time, the principle is Sabbath. I am not talking about a rigid, legalistic list of prohibitions on what you can do on Sunday. Instead I refer to the principle that we offer a day a week to God. Sabbath was time intended for prayer, for worship, for learning, for service and for rest.
We have lost this spiritual principle, much to our detriment. We tend to work at all times and in all places, 24/7. Electronic devices have made this so much worse. Their worst contribution, however our devices make however, is in how they fill all our time with distraction.
We are “distracted from distraction by distraction.” as T.S. Eliot wrote. I ask myself, do I really need to read a story about the latest political outrage, to watch the latest viral videos, to scan my Facebook feed yet again this hour? No, I don’t. How could you use your time to God’s greater glory?
On your pledge form this year in addition to your financial pledge, you are asked about gifts of time and attention. In order to make such a pledge, take an inventory of weekly time. A Sabbath, 1/7th of your week would be a gift of time to God of 18 of your waking hours. A 10% tithe would be about 12 hours.
Public Worship: ________ hours going to Church
Prayer and devotion: ________ hours of personal prayerfulness
Study: ________ hours of learning about your faith
Service: ________ hours of serving others
Financial: ________ how many hours a week do you work to support your giving to church and charitable causes.
What is your total? ________
How are you spending your time? Or better, how are you giving your time? Would you like to be more generous in your time giving? Would you like to spend more time a week in prayer? Are you faithful in worship together? Are you learning, serving, giving of your work time?
Remember that all time is God’s. Every moment is nothing but God’s gift to us. Are we grateful for and generous with our time? God is calling us to respond in thought and deed, with our time that is God’s gift. In addition to a financial pledge, please think of how you can pledge your time this year.
Dean and Rector