Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ:
Congregations often get a little "weary" when the word stewardship is spoken. Perhaps the weariness comes out of a fear that we're about to be guilted into giving more money. However, stewardship is about so much more than money. Indeed, stewardship is about growing as faithful caretakers of everything God has given us, including our time, talents, and financial resources. As Jesus' people, we are called to be faithful stewards of all that has been entrusted to our care.
The Bible has much to say about stewardship. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the parable of the talents, where a master entrusts his servants with different amounts of money. The servants who invest and grow the money are praised, while the one who buries it in fear is rebuked. This parable reminds us that God has given us unique gifts and resources, and it is our responsibility to use them wisely for his Kingdom.
In 1 Corinthians 4:2, Paul states, "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful." This verse reminds us that being a steward is not just about managing resources, but about doing so with faithfulness and integrity, while growing as disciples of Jesus. We are called to use all of the resources, entrusted to our care, in ways that honor God and further God's kingdom, rather than solely for our own selfish desires.
Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us, "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine." This verse emphasizes the importance of giving to God first, and trusting the love, compassion, and faithfulness of God's love.
2 Corinthians 9:8 is a powerful verse that reminds us of God's abundant grace, hope, and love. The verse states, "And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work." Here Paul reminds us of the abundance of grace, lavishly given to us, through Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So generously has God given to us, we are empowered and equipped to share with others from God's abundance.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus speaks to us in part of the Sermon On the Mount saying: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." In this context treasure refers to that which we most value, not merely money. To say "I love the Lord" and then live in pursuit of that which is of this earth, and not of God, is to live outside of gift and call as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is to pursue what the world values, rather than what God values for us.
As we reflect on these scriptures and the concept of stewardship, we ask ourselves:
1) What has God entrusted to me, and called me to share, to serve God's will?
2) How might God be calling me to more faithfully live out my discipleship?
3) How is God calling, equipping, and empowering St. Peter's to Grow Grace; Live Hope; Serve Love; in our community and in the world?
4) How are we, as a congregation of God's people, uniquely gifted and equipped for God's purpose of being and growing disciples?