“Have you ever felt that you are being pulled by an invisible force, that there is something beyond your rational mind and thinking that directs your behavior?”…so begins Tom Berlin’s new book Defying Gravity: Break Free from the Culture of More which is the centerpiece of our annual stewardship campaign that officially begins on Sunday, October 9th and concludes with a commitment celebration on Sunday, October 30th. As I have pondered that question, I am starting to better recognize all of the forces in my own life (often that I’m not even totally aware are influencing me) that effect my generosity in sharing the gifts that God has given me, both materially and spiritually, back to God and his Kingdom.
I am also more fully realizing the power of these seen and unseen forces that influence us. You can call them materialism, consumerism, peer pressure, coveting what our neighbor has (and we don’t), or simply the need to be busy all the time in order to build our self-image. This last force is one that is so critical for us to break free from if we are to be as generous with our time in service to God as God calls us to be as his disciples.
Over the four weeks of the campaign, we will be exploring in worship not just these forces, but steps to take to break free from them—ways that we might “defy the gravity” of the world and its ways in order to live more generously and faithfully for God’s Kingdom, which is a place where the forces are very different. In the Kingdom, it is the forces of justice and mercy that determine how we use our time, treasure, and talents.
It is my hope that you will join me in reading this important book. We have copies available in the church office for $10. You will also be receiving a mailing from the church that will include a commitment card for you to prayerfully complete and bring with you to worship on October 30th (or send in to the church if you cannot be with us that morning). Cards will be available to pick up at church any time during the campaign.
As I’ve been looking ahead to the campaign with this theme of “defying gravity” I keep returning to the story of the rich young man who came to Jesus asking him what it would take for him to have a place in the Kingdom. When Jesus answers that he must break free from his need to accumulate and consume more and more and give what he has to the poor, the story ends with the man going away with sadness, knowing that he is unable to defy the gravity of the world in that way. It is my prayer that as we study and talk about (and are honest about) the forces in our own lives that have kept us from full participation in the Kingdom, unlike this man, we will be empowered not just to recognize them, but to break free from them and soar upward and onward in our journey toward true discipleship!