UNYC Director of Stewardship

Rev. Susan M. Ranous, Deacon of Stewardship 
As part of my new appointment as the Director of Stewardship for the Upper New York Conference, I have to have a secondary appointment at a local church since I am an Ordained Deacon. Your Staff Parish Relations Committee agreed that Baldwinsville should be my secondary appointment. As part of that appointment, I’ve agreed to write a newsletter article every couple of months. Here’s my first one!
I love fortune cookies. When I order Chinese food to go, I always order extra cookies. It’s worth an extra dollar to sit there, break them apart and munch away while reading “fortunes”. I know that fortune tellers, etc., go against the Methodist Book of Discipline, but I have to say the fortunes that I’ve received aren’t taken seriously, at least by me. And, recently, the fortunes aren’t really fortunes, but are more like proverbs.
The other day I got this one: "It is too late to start digging a well when you feel thirsty"

I actually took a picture of it and have it on my phone. I’ve gone back and read and re-read it a few times, because, well, I was really impressed. It made so much sense to me. I grew up in rural Oxford, New York, and we had a well. When it was really hot in the summer, sometimes the water would get a peculiar smell and taste (known as sulphur water). Many people don’t care for it, but I always liked it; it tasted like home.  When I moved to Syracuse, I found that “city water” was pretty tasteless!
My parents’ well was very deep, so we never ran out of water, no matter how dry or hot the summer. But other people did have to drill a new well. The problem is if they waited until the original well ran dry, it took some time to make arrangements for someone to do the work, to be available, to be scheduled and then to do the extra drilling. As the saying said, when it’s dry, it’s too late to start drilling, because your thirst isn’t going to get quenched for a very long time.
A theology of stewardship and how money is used and raised is the same way.

  • If we wait until we’ve run out of money, what will we do while we’re trying to raise new money?
  • Will there be donors when everything’s dried up?
  • If we just spend the money we have, not worrying about the future, what happens when there’s an unplanned event and there’s nothing left?
  • Will that unplanned event “speak” to the people that will give?
  • If we don’t worry about the future, believing that everything will be cared for, how can we ever be ready for the future?
  • The future is going to come, planned for or not. Wouldn’t it be easier to plan?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been very lucky in my life; I’ve never been really, really thirsty. Sure, there were summer days when a nice cold glass of water tasted good. And I went through more than two large bottles of water a day when I was on a mission trip to Haiti in July! BUT water has always been available to me. I have been lucky. Thirst is a real issue, and drilling a well, while it might be a solution, is a solution that should already be cared for prior to the point where thirst is a problem.

  • Isn’t it easier to plan?
  • Isn’t it easier to drill?
  • Isn’t it easier to care for what God has provided?

Rev. Susan M. Ranous, Deacon of Stewardship