Stewardship is what we as stewards do. Stewardship is the living out of our faith through our serving, giving, witnessing, and relating to others. It is the faithful use of our lives, gifts, talents, and money in doing God’s will. It is our faithful response to God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation. Prompted by the Holy Spirit through the reading of God’s Word, we freely and joyously commit all that we are and have for His purpose.
Simply put, stewardship gives God honor and glory, helps others, and enriches us. As Lutherans we ask, “What does this mean?”
Stewardship Gives God Honor and Glory
Stewardship gives God honor and glory as we, by God’s Spirit, working through Word and Sacrament, become more like Jesus. In the words of Paul, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Stewardship gives God honor and glory because we acknowledge God as the source and giver of all good gifts. Therefore, our entire lives and resources are committed to doing His will and serving Him by serving others. Jesus honored God by doing his Father’s will (John 17:4). We honor God the same way.
Stewardship gives God honor and glory when we do our deeds of stewardship out of joy and love rather than duty. God wants our motivation for stewardship to be based on love and gratitude.
Stewardship Helps Others
Stewardship helps others by providing people in need with physical and spiritual support. Jesus said that we will always have the needy and the poor. Stewards provide support for their brothers and sisters in Christ and those outside the faith by giving their time and money. Paul wrote, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). Helping and serving others brings us joy as Jesus’ love in us overflows to others.
Stewardship helps others as God uses us as His instruments to share the life-saving Gospel. God calls us to be His witnesses in our homes, communities, states, country, and throughout the world (Acts 1:10). We are witnesses by what we say and do, and we provide financial support for missionaries who carry the Gospel to all parts of the world.
Stewardship helps others through our financial support of churches, Christian schools and colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations. Christian organizations and institutions are necessary to kingdom building. The care and services these organizations provide are essential and far-reaching.
Stewardship helps others as we use our time and talents in ministry in our churches and other Christian organizations. We serve on boards and committees, sing in the choir, usher, cut grass, provide maintenance to the buildings, etc. God blesses us with gifts that are needed to support the mission and ministry of our Synod, Districts, and churches.
Stewardship Enriches Us
Stewardship enriches us because it helps us understand the responsibility and privilege we have been given to be God’s stewards. By God’s grace, He calls us to be His stewards. In spite of our unworthiness, He trusts us to be faithful stewards of His gifts to us. He elevates our status and importance. In His divine plan, He works through us to seek the lost and help those in need. Here on earth, we are Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouth. What a joy it is to be used by our Heavenly Father, Who with the power of His Word created all things. We are given the joyful privilege of being the instruments through which God works.
Stewardship enriches us because it helps us develop an attitude of gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us. Through faith, we know life is a gift, and we see God’s grace, goodness, love, and mercy at work. Our eyes are opened to see the beauty and majesty of God’s creation and the mighty works of His hands. Acknowledging God as the and creator of all good things (James 1:17), we acknowledge His ownership and our role as stewards. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we live with an attitude of gratitude. We give Him our thanks and place our trust in Him rather than the things of this world which give us no lasting hope and security.
Stewardship enriches us because it helps us to live abundantly (John 10:10). God promises to bless us spiritually and, at times, materially for our faithful serving and giving. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). When we give much, we will receive much. In Proverbs we read, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). God has ordained that when we give generously, we will receive generously. We cannot live the full and rich life that God wants us to have unless we experience the joy that comes from generous giving and serving.
Stewardship enriches us because it helps us focus on the intimate relationship Jesus wants to have with each of us. Until we have such a relationship with Jesus, our lives have no value, direction, or purpose. As God’s stewards, we are to steward our relationship with Jesus, others, ourselves, and creation. The relationship we have with Jesus is the most important and the most joyful.
Stewardship enriches us because it helps give our lives purpose and meaning. Through faith, we understand that our gifts and blessings are to do more than just provide for our needs and pleasure. We have a purpose to use all things in His service by helping others and extending His kingdom.
Stewardship enriches us because it helps us to be content. The things of this world can easily become overly important to us, and we become discontent focusing on acquiring more things. Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24a). The giving of money is an antidote to our natural desire to be selfish and self-reliant. Acknowledging that our money has been entrusted to us by God and using our money for His purpose helps us put our material blessings in perspective. As the Apostle Paul learned to be content in “any and every circumstance” (Philippians 4:12), we, too, can learn contentment by being thankful for the blessings God has given us.
Faith Aflame 360 Degrees – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s vision for stewardship is that the stewardship culture in every congregation would be one where every man, woman, and child would know that they are God’s steward by His grace, live as His disciples, and manage the gifts He entrusts to them. Download a brochure at www.michigandistrict.org/congregations/stewardship/faithaflame.
A Faith Aflame 360 Degrees Year One Workshop will be held at Trinity, Monroe on Saturday, January 19. Approximately 80 congregations have already participated in Faith Aflame and are now able to share ideas that will give their members a greater awareness of their life as stewards. For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Richard J. Wolfram at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.225.2111 ext. 237.