Our Stewardship articles come from http://www.lcms.org/stewardship. Here at St. Matthew's, we take our work in our church, communities, and at home seriously. We strive to dedicate ourselves and our purposes to the betterment of all around us, to the Glory of God. We pray that God guides our hands and our hearts in their work.
In the September 2018 issue of StewardCAST, LCMS Stewardship shares insight into why some congregations and individuals are “surprised by stewardship” every year.
Stewardship planning is one of those things that often gets lost in the weeds after summer.
It is also possible for congregations to be surprised by stewardship because they avoid the topic all together. Thus, when the resources to support the ministry are not present, panic ensues.
However, the faithful teaching and preaching of all of God’s Holy Word, including stewardship, will not allow for this surprise.
It’s September, and everything is in full swing again: back to school and back to church attendance after vacations and weekends away. And since everything is back into full swing, it’s a perfect time to get back to basics, back to the foundation.
At the end of the first of his chapters on the virtue of faith in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis provides a helpful reminder, by way of analogy, for the foundation of stewardship. He wrote:
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So then, when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, “Daddy, give me six pence to buy you a birthday present.” Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is six-pence to the good on the transaction. When a man has made these two discoveries God can really get to work. It is after this that real life begins. (128–129).
This is the first thing we are given to confess about stewardship, and it has to do with ownership. God owns everything, and we are simply managers — stewards — acting on His behalf. This is true not only of all that we have in this life (Deuteronomy 8:17–18), but also all that we are in this life (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The rest flows from here. Since we are stewards, or managers, of what belongs to God, entrusted to make use of it according to His will, there is an expectation of responsibility and accountability.
For the Lord said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more” (Luke 12:48b).
And from this comes blessing and reward: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).
We have everything we need to support this body and life from our God’s fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in us. We have everything we need for our spiritual life also from His merciful hands.
On account of the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord Jesus, through the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments, we have the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and everlasting salvation delivered to us with absolute certainty that it is ours — not as stewards but as sons (Galatians 4:1–7).
Let us then, as His own sons, press all that He gives to us into the service of His church and to His glory.