Gratitude, even when we’re weary

October 15, 2021 by Joseph Moore

Here just a few weeks before Thanksgiving most of us find ourselves in the middle of Stewardship season. While most of these campaigns aren’t exactly what we pictured a few months ago, I imagine that the theme of gratitude is finding its way into your preaching and stewardship letter writing.

When I meet with pastors and church leaders, I sometimes ask them what they are grateful for during these most interesting times. Sometimes they’ll say, “We’re grateful our church members continue to give faithfully” or “We’re grateful for the lives changed through the congregation.” But I’ve noticed in the last couple of months that more and more often, usually after a long pause, I hear church leaders say, “I guess I’m just grateful we are still here.”

I have to admit the first time I heard this response I immediately thought surely the Church is about more than simply surviving. But the more I’ve listened to pastors and church leaders these last few months the more I appreciate the honesty — and the hope behind that response.

In June of this year, many of us thought COVID was going to fizzle out in no time at all. There was talk of fall programming and renewed stewardship campaigns and even talk of church retreats — only to have to shelve those well thought out plans as we ride out another wave of this seemingly never-ending pandemic. If you are tired, disappointed, maybe even disillusioned, you are not alone.

The bible is full of stories of tired, disappointed, and disillusioned people. They yell at God and one another. They stomp their feet, they tear their clothes, sometimes they even make bad decisions. But the one constant in our sacred story is God and God’s benevolence toward us. I’m reminded of Psalm 117 where the Psalmist writes:

Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Extol God, all you peoples!
For great is God’s steadfast love towards us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!

We don’t know the exact context in which this Psalm was written, but it’s safe to say that it was written to a people who at various times had been tired, disappointed, and disillusioned. That is to say, it was written for you and for me, a reminder that God’s love is steadfast and that God’s faithfulness endures forever.

There is a way of hearing church leaders say, “I guess we’re just grateful we’re still here” as a gratitude rooted in resignation. But more and more I think it might be a gratitude rooted in a confession — confession that God’s faithfulness endures forever and because of that, the Church is still here.

Because God’s love is steadfast, our churches can make their way even in the middle of a global pandemic that is tearing at almost every corner of the fabric of our lives. In the midst of canceled fall programing, revised stewardship campaigns, and leaders who are tired, disappointed, and disillusioned, God is still here, and so are you. That might be the very best, most truthful, gratitude we can offer this year.

I hope you’ll take a moment to consider what it means that you’re still here. Maybe, just maybe, you can give thanks for the fact that we are all here because “God’s faithfulness endures forever.” Praise be to God, because that’s enough.

Rev. Joseph Moore serves as the Ministry Relations Officer for the South Central Region. He works with congregations to create a culture of generosity, offers seminars and workshops, develops gifts and fundraising plans for ministries, and provides coaching to finance, stewardship and endowment committees. You can reach him at