calendar January 29, 2024 in Mission, Stewardship

“We Are The Tools of Transformation”

“Beloved, we are saved by grace through faith for a purpose,” The Rev. Dr. Patricia A. Davenport, bishop of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, said in the opening sermon of the annual generosity extravaganza, “Tools for Today.” Her text was 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, in which Paul speaks of the need and joy of giving to help God’s people.

“We are blessed to be able to talk about the difference Jesus has made in our lives,” the bishop said. Our stories and our relationship empower us “to go out into the world and make a difference in the name of Jesus, advancing the kingdom of God.”

Many of our congregations are doing “awesome work” in the midst of wars, mass shootings, increasing suicide rates, a leadership crisis in the church, and so many ills that plague our world, she said. “You may question if what Paul is saying is relevant for us in today’s world.”

“Paul’s wisdom to think it over and make up your own mind about what you will give is still important for us as baptized believers in 2024, seeking to make a difference in the world,” Bishop Davenport said. “We are the ones that God has asked and blessed to tell what it means to be a renewed member of the body of Christ.”

“Don’t focus on scarcity. Think on the goodness of God and how God made up God’s mind to give us Jesus,” she added.

The day’s speakers provided a wide range of ideas and practical tools to help congregations and our members have generous and vital ministry. And the bishop encouraged the attendees to take the charge personally. “Simply put…we are the tools” needed to transform a hurting world.

From the Macedonian call to Martin Luther’s community chest, right up to our current work in feeding ministries, Code Blue shelters, community gardens and 12-step groups, that is what Christians have always done. “We, Christians from the Lutheran tribe, take our baptismal vows and gifts seriously.”