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by Wendy Gustafson

I like catching trout with the bamboo fly rod that my husband Bob made for me by hand. He devoted 100 hours to the crafting of that rod. He was in touch with every aspect of it. His fingerprints are all over it. He produced it from a dead trunk of cane 12’ long to make an elegant 2-piece fly rod, 7 ½ feet long, with a Dickerson 7613 taper, and 2 tips. It fits me perfectly. Fishing guides who have handled it declare it to be a “sweet stick.” On the rod, in his own handwriting, Bob wrote “Wendy’s Rod” and then he signed his name: “Bob Gustafson, builder.”

Doing things by hand means you are in touch with the work. Your fingerprints are on it. Part of yourself is embedded in the project. It is a creative activity born of intent, a dedicated effort with a goal in sight.

God’s Hands made things. A snap of His fingers ignited the Big Bang. He played in the mud and made Man, uniquely crafting each one of us by Hand.

His Hand protects us in the present, leads us into our future, and welcomes us into Eternity.

We put our hand to a task and in doing so, all that we are is dedicated to the work. A part of you goes with the gift when that gift is made by hand.

I like to write my pledge check by hand every month. It is the first check I write. I make it out: Pay to the order of God or Saint Barnabas Church. It is special to me. I take a minute to say thanks to God for the blessings of the past month and the help He’s going to give me in the next. My pledge is a thank offering that I give to God. Just Thanks. But it comes from me and He recognizes the source of my handmade gift.

I’m old fashioned. I know that people don’t write checks much anymore. Today this work is done by hands to the keyboard instead of hands to paper.

Either way, check or keyboard, the thanksgivings you have made through your stewardship pledge “by hand”, make their way into God’s Hands through the faithful witness of Saint Barnabas Church to the World.

Thanksgiving is the Heart Work that starts and fuels Christian stewardship. As you start with thanksgiving, begin to realize how God has entered your life, how present He is. Thank Him ahead of time for blessings to come. To make the first check or the first item on your bill-payer list your pledge to His church, means you trust God with your portion of what is His. You put yourself in His Hands. That is the Heart Work that makes giving “go”.

Pay the rest of your bills, thanking God again for all the things and opportunities and “fixes” and people and blessings and breathing and sunrises and sunsets… for all His gifts, symbolized here by how you spend.

Give thanks again.

By God’s Hand we are sustained. By our hand His work gets done. Combined we lend a hand (help out), give a hand (encourage others), show a hand (be yourself), be on hand (in relationship to love and work) to be in partnership with God and His people on our common way to Heaven.

Sign a pledge card by hand and join in.

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