“If Love is not the first thing you think of when you hear the word Stewardship, perhaps you may need to reevaluate how you view it.”
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“How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things God has done for me?” Psalm 116:12
Here are some ways we are “Sent to Serve” with our time and talents.
Altar Guild – Prepare the Lord’s Table for our meal of Holy Communion.
Assisting Minister – Help to lead our time of worship.
Choir – Raise your voice together with others to praise and thank our Lord.
Convalescent Home Ministry – Give a gift of time and companionship
Habitat for Humanity – Help build homes for people in need.
Hand Bell Ringer – Make a joyful noise to the Lord with bells.
Homebound Communion – Bring the Lord’s meal to those who are homebound.
Hospitality House and Bread and Roses Thrift Store – Support the needs of the homeless in our community.
Interfaith Food Ministry – Support the efforts of our local food distribution ministry.
Lectors – Read the Scripture lessons at Sunday services.
Liturgical Arts Team – Help with seasonal changes to our church décor.
The ELCA offers a fun Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool to help guide us to discerning our talents.
What the Bible says about Stewardship
It’s all about about gratitude! The first and most fundamental theme of Biblical stewardship is God’s ownership of and dominion over all things seen and unseen. This means that Biblical stewardship, at its core, is always about managing someone else’s stuff.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being.” John 1:1-3
Jesus the Word is the creator of everything; this is this world. This passage underscores Jesus’ full ownership of all creation as his rightful possession. It also reminds us of his love and providential care for all he has made.
The gift of God in Christ Jesus is the key to every act of Christian giving. We give because he first gave to us, riches “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
John 3:16 shows us the Biblical concepts of “love” and “gift” are inseparable. In fact, it is impossible to understand one without the other. Thus, because God’s love is gifted love, our love must be expressed through giving as well. God’s love is a gift, but gifts call for a response of gratitude.
Our practice of Stewardship begins with the knowledge of the great gifts God has given us. All we do should be an expression of gratitude to Him.
Thanksgiving Thoughts from Martin Luther
Excerpts from Luther’s Large Catechism (1529):
The Explanation of the First Article of the Apostles Creed
“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that he has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house and farm, etc. Besides, he makes all creation help provide the benefits and necessities of life—sun, moon, and stars in the heavens; day and night; air, fire, water, the earth and all that it yields and brings forth; birds, fish, animals, grain, and all sorts of produce. Moreover, he gives all physical and temporal blessings—good government, peace, security. Thus we learn from this article that none of us has life—or anything else that has been mentioned here or can be mentioned—from ourselves, nor can we by ourselves preserve any of them, however small and unimportant. All this is comprehended in the word “Creator”.
Moreover, we also confess that God the Father has given us not only all that we have and what we see before our eyes, but also that he daily guards and defends us against every evil and misfortune, warding off all sorts of danger and disaster. All this he does out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind father who cares for us so that no evil may befall us.
Hence, because everything we possess, and everything in heaven and on earth besides, is daily given, sustained, and protected by God, it inevitably follows that we are in duty bound to love, praise, and thank him without ceasing, and, in short, to devote all these things to his service, as he has required and enjoined in the Ten Commandments.
Here much could be said if we were to describe how few people believe this article. We all pass over it; we hear it and recite it, but we neither see nor think about what the words command us to do. For if we believed it with our whole heart, we would also act accordingly, and not swagger about and boast and brag as if we had life, riches, power, honor, and such things of ourselves, as if we ourselves were to be feared and served. This is the way the wretched, perverse world acts, drowned in its blindness, misusing all the blessings and gifts of God solely for its own pride, greed, pleasure, and enjoyment, and never once turning to God to thank him or acknowledge him as Lord or Creator.
Therefore, if we believe it, this article should humble and terrify all of us. For we sin daily with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and property, and with all that we have, especially those who even fight against the Word of God. Yet Christians have this advantage, that they acknowledge that they owe it to God to serve and obey him for all these things.
For this reason we ought daily to practice this article, impress it upon our minds, and remember it in everything we see and in every blessing that comes our way. Whenever we escape distress or danger, we should recognize how God gives and does all of this so that we may sense and see in them his fatherly heart and his boundless love toward us. Thus our hearts will be warmed and kindled with gratitude to God and a desire to use all these blessings to his glory and praise.
Thank you to all who have responded to our Stewardship Initiative! It is with your help that our church community thrives and it is with your gifts that we are able to continue our ministry here at PEACE.
Excerpts from the NIV Stewardship Study Bible
Copyright © 2009 Zondervan