The organizing theme for October and November at All Saints’ is Delight in Serving. God delights in serving us each day in countless ways. In response to God’s gracious and mysterious service, we orient our lives to serving with delight.
As people of faith we are most properly motivated by delight, because God makes such a wonderful difference in our lives. The Gospel proclaims that God lavishes us with blessings, privileges, and responsibilities. On the other hand, delight can be submerged under a swirling flood of busyness, and it can even be washed ashore and left to dry in the sun by guilt or shame.
God delights within the Trinity, and God delights in you. God delights in who you are, and in who you will become. God delights in giving us life and in dwelling in our hearts and minds. God delights in creating us into the community of hope called the Church.
Christ came to dwell among us in order for us to share in God’s delight. The tender stories of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany speak of wonder and delight. The journey of Lent, the victory of Easter, and the joy of Pentecost carry forward both the delight of God, and our response of delight.
We might consider the Christian faith as the way of ordering our lives around delight, which is an appropriate response to God’s abounding delight. So how do we integrate delight into our lives, and how do we increase our experience of delight?
We might begin by reading the Song of Solomon as a love letter from God to us. Another step is to intentionally choose delight over busyness, obligation, and shame. In some ways, delight is also a skill to be cultivated through repetition and practice. The more we practice responding with delight, the more we will experience it. Happily, delight is also contagious, both within ourselves, and between us and others. The more delight there is in our lives, the more delight will grow in and around us.
Our generous pledges and donations help us acknowledge and accept God’s delight. At the same time that our gifts to All Saints’ express our thanks, they also engender delight in our own hearts and minds. I wish for you the delight of being open to God’s delightful presence, and the best way of opening our souls is to respond in kind to God’s many blessings.
The Bible teaches us to tithe. The basis of tithing is to give a certain percentage to God first, in order to acknowledge that all we have is a gift from God. Those who tithe are more likely to spend the remainder of their financial resources from the perspective of God’s delight in giving.
Andrea’s Grandma Moon was born in 1905 and lived through the Great Depression. She was taught as a young child to put God first. Her pattern was to take the bus to town with her monthly check in hand and stop first at the bank. She would place ten percent of her income into an envelope marked “Church,” and would then make a circuit around town, stopping to pay her bills at the telephone company, power company, and so on. The remainder of her money was for food, other necessities, and luxuries. She enjoyed such abundance on her meager fixed income that there was always an extra twenty dollar bill at the end of each month. She would drop a crisp twenty into the bottom drawer of her dresser. I have little doubt that she closed the drawer with a prayer of thanksgiving and a feeling of delight. When Grandma Moon died, we found a drawer loaded with twenties!
The biblical norm for the tithe is ten percent. Andrea and I started orienting our finances around God’s delight many years ago, with a much smaller percentage. Now we give more than ten percent, and in doing so we experience much joy and delight. All Saints’ always takes priority in our giving, even though we do give to other organizations as well. Please use the table below to calculate what percentage you are giving this year, and then ask yourself whether you might be able to stretch toward God’s delight in giving by increasing that percentage.