Thursday, October 11
2018 - 2019 Stewardship
Time: 12:00 am – 12:00 am
Northminster Presbyterian Church
Blessed to Be a Blessing
– by Bob and Cheri Gudgel
When we were asked to speak on the topic “Blessed to be a blessing”, we wanted to express how the many blessings we have received in our lives have helped us in our relationships with each other, in our relationships within several churches we have attended and in our desire to give financial support for the mission and ministry here at Northminster.
To do this, we have chosen 8 key words to help convey our thoughts. They are: Beginning, Love, Engagement, Support, Stewardship, Inspiration, Northminster and Gratitude.
The 1st word BEGINNING: Bob and I first met at youth fellowship in Evansville at Washington Ave. Presby Church when we were high school freshmen. I had recently moved in with my Grandmother. I was an only child, raised in a dysfunctional family, and moved frequently...mostly in Florida. It was a true blessing that my Grandmother recognized my plight and brought me north to live with her. Bob on the other hand, I soon realized, seemed to be surrounded by love, LOVE being our 2nd key word.
He was raised in what I saw as a “normal” family with a mother and father and siblings that actually got along and loved each other. His father was our chauffeur when we went on dates until Bob was old enough to drive. In those early years, I think I was more smitten with his dad than with him. His mother was a role model, she wore hats. I wear hats as a tribute to her. As time went on and Bob left for college and I started working, I felt loved and blessed that his family continued to include me in their local activities. I even became a nanny for his younger sister when his parents traveled.
Our 3rd word is ENGAGEMENT: Yes we were engaged and married...but the kind of engagement I'm referring to means involvement with and commitment to others. In our early years in northern Indiana, we worshiped at two Presbyterian churches. We made many lasting friendships through activities associated with those churches. At one church we were asked to team up with another young couple to start a Jr. Hi fellowship group. That couple became our lifelong friends...in fact we will be visiting with them later this month in Georgia. Just another blessing in our lives!
The 4th word is SUPPORT: We can all be a blessing by providing support to others. Over the past 73 years several thousand individuals have supported the mission of this church. If you have donated to clothe-a-child, you are a blessing. If you have supported hunger relief, or disaster relief, you are a blessing. If you have prayed for church members and friends, you are a blessing. No mater our station in life, we have all been blessed and can be a blessing to someone else.
The next key word is STEWARDSHIP: Good stewardship can be taught....but it is much easier to learn when you can witness it. I was blessed to be raised in a family that practiced sharing what they had with others. Supporting charities and the church was something I can remember from childhood. My Sr, High Sunday school teacher stressed the importance of tithing and challenged us as young adults to go and do likewise....a challenge that Cheri and I set as a goal early on in our marriage.
Next word is INSPIRATION: We can be inspired by what we hear, and by what we see, and we can hope that some small thing we do might inspire someone else. So it was with Cheri's Grandmother, with my parents, with my Sunday school teacher, with so many of the preachers and teachers that have shaped our lives. Years ago my older sister sent me a quote that she had read. It went like this: We should all ASPIRE to INSPIRE before we EXPIRE.”
The seventh word in our list is NORTHMINSTER: The “hat lady” next to me and I are celebrating our 50th year as members of this church. This has been the biggest blessing to both of us. This is where we raised our family, made our friends, grew our faith and shared so many joys and some sorrows....but always surrounded by the blessings of a caring and loving staff and the many members and friends of this church. Relatively few people get to spend so many years as we have worshiping within a congregation with such a dynamic ministry.
This brings me to our final key word: GRATITUDE: As we approach Pledge Sunday Cheri and I will give our financial support not because we are asked to...or because we are expected to...but because we want to! We give out of Gratitude. Gratitude for all the Blessings we have received.
In case you haven't noticed, the first letter of the 8 key words we chose this morning: BEGINNING, LOVE, ENGAGEMENT, SUPPORT, STEWARDSHIP, INSPIRATION, NORTHMINSTER and GRATITUDE spells the word BLESSING. May God share his richest blessings with each of you....and may you be a blessing to others.