This past Sunday was our Children’s Sabbath Sunday, which is a great day in the life of a church when third-graders receive a Bible from their church. When we were discussing plans for this, it was amazing to me how many people I talked to still held onto their own third-grade Bible. It’s one of those gifts that you carry with you throughout your life, and it is an honor to get to be the giver of that gift.
While I was (FINALLY!!!) unpacking some boxes still in my office and getting things arranged and hung on the walls, I kept opening gifts. All of these little knick-knacks that are on my shelves, as I opened each one it made me not only think of the gift but the giver. I can tell you exactly who gave each thing to me. There is a cross with a ginkgo leaf on the front, made by an artist in Griffin, GA, that was given to me by dear friends of mine as a gift for officiating their wedding. There is a framed set of four pictures that spell out the word, “Pray,” which was a gift given to me by my wife during our first year of marriage, that she purchased at a small store in Decatur that we both loved. I honestly can go on and on.
It is not the cost of these gifts that give them value, it is the stories behind it. It is the same with our church. Every year, around this time, we are filling out charge conference reports and setting the business of the church for the upcoming year, and one of the questions we must answer is, “what is the value of your church property?” I always have to take a pause when I get to that question. I know what they are asking, which is basically an insurance question, but I always pause because my honest answer is, priceless. I feel the same about the Bibles that we just gave. I feel the same about the memories that are made here. So, yes, we put a dollar amount on our church buildings, and we have a budget, but the gift that is this church is so much more than that. I hope that in this season of stewardship, we keep that in mind, and be a part of the priceless gift God gives to the world.