by Eloise Frye
Last week during the Stewardship Minute, you learned that the Episcopal Church leaders initiated five holy habits to be practiced by members in the church. The habits are Worship, Study of Scriptures, Personal Prayer, Tithing, and Observing the Sabbath.
Today, under a more defined heading, I will talk about how to practice the holy habits for Giving Thanks, Trusting in God, and being Spiritually Content.

Our first holy habit – Giving Thanks

Giving thanks reminds us that all our blessings are gifts from God and to be thankful for whatever the gifts may be.
Earlier this year, a different leadership style in our parish was revealed. Under this leadership, we were forced to look at the direction that our parish was going and realized we had to make changes.
Do you remember what changes we made?
We had town hall meetings, where we prayerfully discerned a revised Mission Statement that distinguished the differences between our parish from other congregations. We put together our 21st century Vision Statement, and we dug deep in our hearts and completed a list of Core Values.
During this process, we recognized that St. Martin-in-the-Fields is no longer able to fit all those we serve in the congregation under the same roof (unless we expand the size of the roof). Thanks to the clergy’s leadership and the help of you, the parishioners, we are making progress.

Our second holy habit – Trust in God

Trust in God to guide us to a spiritual connection that transcends any other beliefs. How do we practice this holy habit? By coming to church and listening to the prayers, sermons, and reading the scriptures.
In our gospel today (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23), Jesus shares the parable of “sowing seeds.” There were seeds that fell on an open path, and some fell on thorns and did not grow. However, the seeds that fell on the good soil brought forth plenty of grains. Why did this happen? Because the gardener, trusted, and listened to Jesus’ guidance, he grew an abundance of grains. Yes, enough to share with family, friends, and all those in that community!
Here at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, we believe that God has called us to be good stewards of our resources. Currently, we are leaving the walls of this building and embracing organizations such as: the Christian Community Storehouse, the Union Gospel Mission. Also, we are embracing neighborhood children that attend our preschool and Vacation Bible School. We pray and trust that we continue to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our community.

Our third holy habit – Be Content with yourself by means of Daily Personal Prayer

Have you ever been taken out of your comfort zone? I have.

The deaths of my beloved relatives, worrying about the down payment on my first home, selecting treatment plans for my health issues, choosing to make a change in my employment, and moving to a new city where I knew two people. All of these events took a toll on my everyday life; I was taken out of my comfort zone. I had many questions but few answers.

Since childhood and all my adult life I was taught to pray for direction, guidance, and yes, contentment. In my life, personal prayer has lifted me from many gloomy and heartbreaking events, to a place of acceptance and gratitude.

Through prayer I realized that my challenges were created by God to enrich my life, and that he had all the answers… I just had to take time and ask for them. For the record, after my conversations with Our Lord, everything turned out to be a blessing.
Today, our focus on the holy habits centers on our ability to show Thanksgiving for all that we possess.   Trust in God to supply all our needs. Listen to God through personal prayer that leads to peace and Contentment in our lives.

Stewardship is the personal belief that everything you have belongs to God.

I leave you with one question – what percentage of your belongings are you willing to give back to support the ministries here at St. Martin-in-the-Fields?