Zion Lutheran Church – Hinsdale, IL


Jan
6

What is Stewardship? (click here for the answer)

Home > Featured > What is Stewardship? (click here for the answer)

 

 

“A person wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick

 

 

Do you know what stewardship is? Could you define it and provide a concise and clear statement as to what it is? Let me ask the question this way: Suppose a child in our Early Childhood Center were to tug at your pant leg and say, “Hey Mister/Miss, what’s stewardship?” How would you answer?

 

Well, I suppose you could give the “correct and proper answer” as defined by the LCMS and say something like: “Well now, young man, that’s a great question. Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes.”

 

No, I don’t suppose that would be an appropriate reply; more than likely it would leave a puzzled and unsatisfying look on the youngster’s face. So, I ask the question to you again: How would you explain stewardship to a child?

 

For me, stewardship is indeed managing our resources and that includes everything we say that is mine: My money, my time, and my talents (both natural and learned). Yes, it is recognizing that everything in this life is a gift from God. As Martin Luther writes in the Small Catechism: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures…[and that] He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life” {Explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed}.

 

But stewardship is also about giving. If we believe and confess that God is the Giver of all things, then we ought to ask ourselves: What shall my response be to His generous giving to me? The answer is stewardship. Stewardship is not about making budget, clearing up a deficit, paying overdue bills, or any other such thing. Christian stewardship is a deeply spiritual act of praise and thanksgiving to our almighty God who takes care of me and all my needs. Stewardship is the opportunity to participate with God in the gracious act of giving and serving; it is the outward expression of Jesus’ life and it is His life that we are emulating when we practice stewardship giving.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” (NIV) 

 

Stewardship, truly, is not about ourselves. It’s about giving to serve the needs of someone else in response to God first giving to us. When we participate in fellowship after worship or at a potluck we are given the opportunity to make ourselves available to someone else. When we set aside our regular tithe and place our money in the offering plate we are given the opportunity to further and grow ministry in this time and place. When we make time to serve in any of our congregation’s boards, committees, and service opportunities, we use our talents, education, experience, and vocational training so that other’s lives are blessed.

 

John 4:34-35: “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. (NIV) 

 

Stewardship is about opening our lives to the life that God desires for all His people. We are the vessels through which God operates! Stewardship is about God using our faith in Him to intentionally act in this life and world so that we can make an impact on someone else’s life. It is opening our eyes, lifting our heads, seeing the possibilities and opportunities and asking God: How can you use me? Where can I contribute? Where can I serve?

 

It’s a good spiritual practice to reflect your financial commitment to support the work in God’s kingdom.  I realize that each of us makes daily decisions on where and on what we spend our money. That is why your contributions are received with thanksgiving as we participate with God in His kingdom and work side by side with each other.  I want to thank you for participating in Zion’s ministry.

 

May God continue to work in us that we may prove to be a blessing to others. And we do it all as summed up in the words and motto of the Benedictine order:

 

In omnibus glorificetur Deus

That in all things God may be glorified.”

Romans 15:5-6; 1 Peter 4:7-11

 

 Pastor Jay Klein