One of the great joys of my ministry is the opportunity to meet the United Methodist people of Wisconsin who are investing themselves and many of their financial resources in the mission of the Church. I love hearing the stories of mission and ministry. Wherever I have gone in the past several months, I have experienced the wonderful connection of God's gifted people with the opportunities for serving and sharing.
Over and over again, I am reminded that sharing in generosity is a gift for the soul. Often those who share the stories speak of having their souls and spiritual life greatly enriched by the experience of sharing. Oh, how my spirit is lifted up when I hear the stories!
I am very much encouraged and grateful for the way we as United Methodists in Wisconsin are responding in generosity with our apportionments (shared offerings). Here in Wisconsin, on average, about 20 cents of every dollar given in our offerings within our congregations is set aside for mission and ministry beyond the local church. This modest investment, when joined with all of the gifts of our individuals and congregations, amounts to nearly seven million dollars in mission and ministry per year! For many years, our Wisconsin Conference has been among the leaders in giving to the mission and ministry of the Church beyond Wisconsin. With your generous help, we are on target to be back to 100% of our shared offerings to the world again in 2013. Thank you!
In a sermon on money, the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, once preached something like this, "Let not any person imagine that he has done anything by only gaining and saving all he can. If we were to stop here, all this is nothing. Having, first--gained all you can, and secondly--saved all you can, then give all you can."
This wasn't Wesley's idea alone. The concept of faith and generosity is linked to the story of God's people throughout our story. For example, in the first letter to Timothy, Chapter 6, we find this teaching. "As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life." (NRSV)
Thank you for your generosity in sharing. Thank you for laying a foundation for spiritual health and generosity in living the life that really is life.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).