Summary: This message looks at the legacy each of us will leave.
So here we are, April. For those who have been a part of the Cornerstone family for more than a year then you know what April means.
For those of you who have been with us for less than a year you might think that April is simply the month that falls between March and May. And while that is true, at Cornerstone April has been traditionally, at least since 2002, the month that Denn talks about money.
And you might think that is a bit strange, so let me give you some history and background as to why that occurs.
First of all, it occurs in April because this is the end of the church year for Wesleyan Churches. Why April? I have no idea, but it is what it is.
Prior to 2002 Cornerstone handled our budget and finances like most churches do. Before the new church year, the local board would sit down and draw up a budget for the new year. But there was really very little rationale for the budget. The best that we would hope for was we’d take last year’s budget and say “We hope to grow this year, so let’s increase the budget by 10%” But that very seldom took into account if we had made the budget the previous year or not.
It’s like writing a personal budget without taking into account your income. Assuming the money will just appear. The problem in churches is when the money doesn’t just appear then the pastor is instructed to preach on money. And because the pastor only preaches on money when there is a problem it comes across as scolding or nagging. And most people learn from childhood to mentally turn down the volume of nagging and scolding.
So in 2002, the leadership at Cornerstone decided that instead of having the pastor preach on money when things are tight, and then it comes off as desperation, we would take the month of April, each year, to teach the theology of giving, how we make our money and how we use our money.
First we called it Stewardship Emphasis month but some where along the line it became know as simply “Money Month”
And then on the last Sunday of April, step up cards will be distributed to folks who call Cornerstone their church home to respond and provide an estimate of what they believe they will be able to give in the upcoming year. In affect you get to have a say in the budget and say “This is the type of church I would like to have this year.”
And then we take the cards, add them up and that becomes our budget for the year. Not a nickel more. And to stress the reality of that concept, the first time we did that at Cornerstone I lost a third of my salary and had to take outside employment for the next couple of years.
I think I handle the mechanics of it well; we try not to embarrass anyone or put anyone on the spot. If you don’t want to participate that is fine, although we encourage everyone to take part. And we don’t come knocking on your door if you aren’t able to give what you thought you’d be able to, we hope you will after all we have based our budget on those figures. And we provide you with updates throughout the year about where we are in relation to what was committed and where you are personally in relation to your commitment
The scripture that was read earlier is one of many instances in the bible when Christians were taught about and reminded of their giving habits. You see it’s not just Denn who talks about money.
In this case Paul is writing to the Corinthian church and he’s dealing with a collection that was being received for the believers in Jerusalem who were in the midst of persecution for their faith. And Paul is commending the Corinthian Church and he reaches back into the Old Testament for the proper words and he quotes Psalm 112:9 where David is talking about the righteous people who served God. Psalm 112:9 They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honour.
What Paul is speaking of and alluding to here transcends money and giving because he’s speaking of the legacy that the Corinthians Church is leaving, in particular I want to focus on the sentence that says “Their good deeds will be remembered forever”.
This month our theme is “Your Legacy, Your Choice” and we really need to begin by defining what we mean by legacy. Collin’s English Dictionary defines Legacy this way:
1. a gift by will, especially of money or personal property