This Sunday’s message will be focusing on stewardship. At Center Chapel, we are attempting to help people view and practice stewardship holistically.
When we hear the word “stewardship”, many of us are tempted to think only of money. Many churchgoers, at the mention of the word stewardship, begin to prepare themselves to hear a bunch of babble that will make them feel guilty about not giving enough money to the church. We tread on dangerous ground when approaching the topic of stewardship because a lot of damage has been done in this area. People should not feel guilty about stewardship…they should feel joy and excitement.
The guilt is easy to lay on…And, in all honesty, many already feel guilty enough. Not too many of us need reminders that we are fallen, sinful people. Most of us need constant reminders that, in spite of being fallen, sinful people, there is a Great Hope in the world. But, too often, guilt wins out and we quote verses like Malachi 3:8, which says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.” Following this verse with a great sermon on robbing God leaves many stricken with guilt…But does it produce any life change?
The challenge is to help people find joy, passion, excitement, and a desire to give. And, not just give of their money, but of their time, talents, material resources, etc. Stewardship isn’t just about our finances. It’s about our work, our play, our possessions, our families, our environment…any thing and every thing God has given (which, by the way, is everything…hence the holistic view of stewardship).
This Sunday, we just might explore that passage from Malachi (because when you look at the whole passage and not just one verse, it’s pretty powerful). We just might look at what Jesus had to say about stewardship (let’s just say the whole idea of a tithe might get thrown out the window). We just might explore why we give, how we give, when we give, what we give, and all that jazz.
I’d be interested in learning some of your thoughts on stewardship. What thoughts come to mind when you hear the word “stewardship”? What positive images do you have? What negative associations do you have? Any good stories on stewardship? Give me a shout.
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)