Contributing to the Ministry of the Church - Christian Stewardship
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Contributing to the Ministry of the Church – Christian Stewardship
God has no need for anything from man, in fact, it is impossible to give to God except indirectly, by ministering to the needs of His children. Giving is not for God’s benefit, but for our own. The only way for God to assist us in actualizing the likeness we have to Him is to guide us in developing His unselfishness. With perseverance and patience, He waits for us to learn to give. Therefore, one of the primary processes of transforming man into His likeness is by Stewardship.
As our time and talents, our material possessions, what we earn and call our own, are a gift from God who makes them possible and are given to us as a sacred trust. We need to be honest with God. Each and every one of us is on trial. As Christians, we all have the responsibility to our Lord to support and make possible the continuance of the work of His Church in the world. Our response to this call is by giving in an open, direct, and honest manner. The attitude that we should be interested solely in the spiritual aspects of the Church and not the material side of life is pure folly. Our spiritual life is simply the way in which we order our material lives.
The Psalmist says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). The idea that you can separate the spiritual from the secular did not originate with God. The spiritual and material are inseparable; each area affects the other. Jesus Christ is Lord of all of life, including our money and our possessions. Our Lord is interested in how we make our money and how we spend it, both as individuals and as a Church. The Church needs the most dedicated and spiritual people to administer to her financial matters. Laymen, dedicated to Christ, that have the ability to manage the business aspect of the Church.
There are three attitudes we may have toward our possessions in this world of abundance. We can squander it, like the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-32); we can hoard it like the rich fool (Lk. 12:13-21); or we can use it for God, like the good steward (Mt. 25:14-30, Lk. 16:10-13). Our Lord talked freely about possessions and money and their potential effect on human life. He knew that money and possessions represent our effort, energy, time, and talents. When we are selfish with our many possessions we are withholding ourselves. Since money represents power, prestige, and security, our attitude toward money can become a spiritual God, through His Church, makes no unreasonable demands on us. We are all asked to share for the good of our community in Christ. Considering what we spend on ourselves in terms of achieving and maintaining a comfortable standard of living, personal entertainment, and assuring a materially secure future, God really asks for very little. A standard of living without a commensurate standard of giving demoralizes and corrupts us spiritually. We must accept the responsibility and importance of supporting fully the work of the Church, our parishes, and their needs. We share together the calling to be responsible and faithful stewards of Christ’s Church.