Discover Whole-Life Response
Stassi Cramm, Presiding Bishop
The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” -John 4:11-14
The Presiding Bishopric team explored whole-life response when working on the book Choosing Generosity. We pondered how the qualifier, whole-life, changes the meaning of a word. We considered the difference between stewardship and whole-life stewardship as referenced in Doctrine and Covenants 164:9c which states, “It requires whole-life stewardship dedicated to expanding the church’s restoring ministries…”
Some argued the definition of stewardship includes the concept of whole-life. Others explained that without emphasizing whole-life, readers might assume that stewardship only includes finances. Some talked about whole-life as in the length of one’s entire life as well as all aspects of one’s life. All agreed that including whole-life made a stronger statement. The 2016 World Conference defined tithing to include time, talent, treasures, and testimony. This upholds the idea that disciples tithe through whole-life response.
As the 2019 World Conference focuses on the woman at the well (John 4:7-29), we see a person whose encounter with Jesus led to her whole-life response. She heard about Jesus offering the living water and responded with everything: her time, talent, treasure, and testimony.
One of my workout videos emphasizes a whole-life response. At the point in the exercise when you are tired and want to stop because it is getting too hard, the trainer yells, “Don’t stop now! Give me everything you’ve got, and you won’t regret it.” The trainer is asking for a whole-life response to the healthy practice of exercise.
Some of the challenges we face as a church are monumental. They are going to require us to pull together, make tough decisions, focus on what matters most, go the distance, and extend generous grace to one another. I hear the Holy Spirit as our discipleship trainer encouraging us: “Don’t stop now! Give God everything you’ve got, and you won’t regret it.”
Discover whole-life response.
This week, members and friends of Community of Christ are gathering from across the globe to engage in discernment, worship, and holy decision-making for World Conference. You are invited to spend time each day holding this community and experience in prayer. May we be open to the Spirit of God who speaks through our unity in diversity, dreams shalom within us, and always meets us where we are while inviting us into a future of hope. “Grant to us insight, O God, for this time of decision. May we dream challenging dreams of both depth and precision. Speak through the dark. Dispel by lightning’s bright spark whatever clouds dim our vision.”
-Jane Parker Huber, “O God of Vision,” \xc2\xa9 1981 Jane Parker Huber,
Community of Christ Sings 78
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