You shall not appear before the Lord empty . . .

What I like about stewardship:

Stewardship is the invitation every year to pause, count our blessings and give thanks to God for the blessings that we have received. Without the necessity of the call to stewardship, what is the likelihood that we would pause, even once a year to think about the blessings that we have received during the past year? Human nature’s tendency is to be discontented with what we have and forgetful of our blessings. A gift of stewardship is that we are asked to be mindful of what there is for which each of us gives thanks.
Stewardship gives us the opportunity to realize that God needs our generosity to provide for the temporal wellbeing of His Church. Most of us wouldn’t put up with crumbling plaster or old furniture at our homes, and stewardship helps us to realize that we have a responsibility towards providing for God’s house and the place wherein we worship. It is our chance to be gracious towards the altar and the temple at which we receive grace.

Stewardship highlights for us the ways in which we are heirs of the kingdom. When we give, we do not give only to the temporal well being of the Church. We are giving to the wide variety of ministries that take place here which include, but are not limited to: ministry to the homeless, the destitute, those in hunger, the ill, those who are shut in; we contribute to the extension of the kingdom of God by the teaching, preaching, education, all of which take place at Saint Paul’s; we contribute directly to art accessible to our community by supporting programs of music and the choir; we contribute to the well being of our community by providing for pastoral care for those in need. Stewardship exalts us to appreciate the ways in which we are the voice, the hands, feet and embracing arms of Jesus in our community.

Our stewardship makes a statement about the real importance of the Lord in our lives, for He reminds us that where your treasure is, there shall be your heart also. If the parish had a printing press in the basement, a huge endowment, and a vault akin to Fort Knox, (which we do not) we would still not be excused from the necessity of stewardship because it is our response to the Gospel of Jesus no less important than baptism. Stewardship is the logical consequence of our promise of discipleship to the Lord.

This year’s theme is from Deuteronomy and it sums up all the above: You shall not appear before the Lord empty, you shall give as you are able, according to the blessings of the Lord your God which he has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:16-17). It is a short hand way of remembering why stewardship is important and why we should be grateful that we are able to demonstrate our love of Jesus by giving for the wellbeing of his Church and for the spread of his kingdom.


Canon Greg+


About canongreg

I have been Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, PA since 1994.
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