“Choose today whom you will serve…
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
– Joshua 24:15
In Joshua 24, Joshua calls together the 12 tribes of Israel to speak to them one final time before his death. On the eve of their entry into the Promised Land, they gather at Shechem, a sacred place in Israel’s history, where God appeared to Abraham and reaffirmed God’s covenant with them. It is a place of calling and commitment.
Joshua recounts God’s faithfulness to Israel across the generations and the ways God has blessed the nation amidst many trials and challenges. He commands the people to serve God “with sincerity and faithfulness” and reject the foreign gods of their past. His words are a call to the people to renew their covenant with God.
“…Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living, but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
Our English translation of the text uses a future tense here, but the Hebrew has a fuller meaning: It expresses continuous action. It involves the future, but it can also point to the past. Choose today, choose tomorrow, choose every day. Choose whom you will serve.
Thoughts on faithfulness, renewal, and covenant have been essential to the Stewardship Committee as we met to plan the campaign for the church’s financial support in 2023. As a family of faith, we have weathered these past two pandemic years as best we could, and through it all God has been faithful. Our worship, Christian Education for children, youth, and adults, and many other ministries are returning to full pre-pandemic operations.
We have come to a season of renewal, a season of hope. We invite you to consider how God has accompanied you this past year. When have you seen God’s faithfulness at work in your life? When have you struggled? How has your faith informed the choices and decisions you’ve made? Will you choose to serve the Lord today, tomorrow, and all the days after that? What might that look like for you?
Joshua is reminding the people of God that faithfulness is about choices – the things we choose to do or choose not to do. We make clear what matters to us most fully through all of our choices. And through our choices, our beliefs become actions. In the church, we are called to be a people who show up, who care, who serve, and who give. God is so generous to us, and we are called to respond with all we have and all we are.
The church relies on your choices through your annual pledges to plan, budget, and provide the resources that allow this church to build faith, worship, community, and Christian service to our neighbors in Durham and beyond. Like most organizations, throughout the pandemic, we have seen a drop in the number of families and individuals who commit annually to the church. Inflation has affected the church’s expenses throughout 2022 and will impact the 2023 budget in a significant way. Our utility bills have gone up; many of our vendors have raised prices and added fees to the services they provide to the church. At the same time, the community partner organizations the church supports are seeing extremely high levels of need for their services. We would love to be able to increase our support to them, but this will not be possible if our pledge totals remain the same again this year. Your generosity will enable our campus to continue to be a meeting place for the community and help bring much-needed support to Durham’s most vulnerable residents.
If you have previously pledged to WPC, know that we are deeply grateful. Please make a pledge again this year, and increase it if you can. If you have not made an annual pledge recently, please make one. If you are newer to our community, we invite you to make a financial commitment to the church in the form of an annual pledge. Growing the number of pledges the church receives annually enables the church to better budget and plan strategically for the future and helps us all feel more connected.
And through it all, we say THANK YOU!
Please prayerfully consider how you might give to support the mission and ministries of Westminster Presbyterian Church in the new year. You can make your pledge now through your myWPC account (log in first, then activate the link or view these step-by-step instructions) or download a pledge form to fill in and drop off at the church. If you have any questions, please contact one of us directly, and we will find the answer.
With gratitude for our journey together,
Chris Tuttle, Pastor & Head of Staff
David Wilcox, Chair, 2023 Stewardship Committee