by Pam Tinsley
I recently attended a workshop about the theology of stewardship, where the speaker, Bishop Greg Rickel, shared an unexpected story. He began by addressing our discomfort with discussing money in the church (at least the Episcopal Church), why he was an advocate for year-round stewardship, and why it is a good idea to separate time and talent from the annual pledge drive.
After talking about stewardship and ministries within the church, Bishop Rickel then shared a remarkable story. As a parish priest, he had invited each member of his congregation – young and old – to leave a symbol of their vocation at the foot of the altar. A fifth-grader brought her math homework; a nurse, her stethoscope; and a grocery clerk, his name tag.
It was a mail carrier, however, who slowly approached the altar with tears streaming down his face. He carefully laid his mailbag at the foot of the altar and turned to his priest. “No one has ever suggested that the work I do as a mail carrier might be holy,“ he said.
God invites each of us to holy work. For some, that work might be within the church. For most, that work is outside the church. Our work – be it compensated or not – is to do the work God has given us to do out in the world as baptized Christians. All of our work is, indeed, holy work.