Stewardship Moment for January

Look for our Stewardship Moment each month in your Messenger as your stewardship committee moves toward a year-round effort of inspiration and education regarding God's invitation for us to be generous.

How to Live a Meaningful Life

Many Americans live with two opposite feelings. On one hand, they want to experience meaning and purpose in their lives. On the other hand, they often feel that they are running on empty.

In his classic novel, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo tells us how to eliminate that second feeling. The bishop befriends Jean Valjean and gives him lodging. Valjean repays that kindness by stealing the bishop’s valuable candlesticks. Af- ter the bishop reports the theft, the police magistrate questions Valjean in the bishop’s presence. As the interrogation progresses, Valjean seems headed for jail. At that point, the bishop unexpectedly retracts his charges and offers a plausible reason for why the candlesticks are missing.

Jean Valjean is amazed. When he and the bishop are alone, he says, “Why did you do that? You know I am guilty.”

The bishop replies, “Life is for giving.”

Why do churches receive an offering in their worship services? Some people say, “Because the church needs the money.” That is only part of the answer. Even if a wealthy benefactor fully underwrote our congregation’s expenses, we would still need to provide people with the opportunity to give an offering in our worship services. Weekly giv- ing teaches us—and reminds us because we keep forgetting—that life without unselfish giving is life without mean- ing and purpose.

Victor Hugo is right. Life is for giving.