Stewardship: God’s Blessings and Generosity
In response to God’s grace, we have a personal commitment to be generous to the Lord with
our time, talents, knowledge & resources, to sustain and grow our congregation.
How often do we really sit back and think about how truly blessed we are with the generous
gifts of love, relationships, family, happiness, and success that the Lord our God has given us.
Oftentimes, God’s gifts manifest themselves in challenges and struggles that he pulls us
through. Moreover, why did God place me in the family of “All Saints Lutheran Church?” Do I
have a purpose or role to play in its success?
Sometimes we know the answer, other times we
continue to search until God reveals the answer to us. And when he does, will you, with the
help of the Holy Spirit, respond with a generous and faithful heart?
After over a year without a permanent pastor, our congregation is on the cusp of finding a new
pastor to lead us. After all the struggles and soul searching our congregation has endured,
we’ve finally scraped enough finances together in which to make a call for a pastor. But this
doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. We will need you more than ever to maintain the
spirit and momentum of generosity going into next year and beyond.
“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Autumn remains a time of beginnings and renewal in the life of All Saints Church, even as the
Earth appears to be getting crazier and divided and wants to go out in the blaze of glory. It
remains a good time to talk about stewardship. But instead of “campaigns” or even “appeals,” I
think, the community of Christ should call them “invitations to renewed generosity.” After all,
our agrarian ancestors were really deciding how to use God’s generous harvest to multiply that
generosity through their faith communities. The same remains true for us.
Our ancient Christian ancestors would do this cool thing at this time of year. As their last fields
were gathered, they’d all come together to raise up the final sheaf and they’d process it back
into town, giving thanks and praise to God that He was generous again that year. They’d
celebrate the generosity of the Divine, both in the harvest and through the gift of Christ for the
world. They’d do as that old hymn in so many hymnals sing, “…come rejoicing, bringing in the
I pray that through our Stewardship petition, you see it as an “invitation to renewed
generosity,” and as a scene of rejoicing for you and our congregational community. As we’re
gathered around the generous, crucified and risen One, we can bring in the collective sheaves
to continue changing lives in this world. “Come rejoicing, Beloved, bringing in the generous gifts
God has given you!”
Peace Be With You – Roger Lehrer
Stewardship: SHARING GOD’S BLESSINGS and HIS TREASURES HE HAS GIVEN US!
In response to God’s grace, we have a personal commitment to be generous to the Lord with our time, talents, knowledge & resources, to sustain and grow our congregation.
As we’ve heard at recent church meetings, the coming year will be met with wonderful challenges and expectations. Our church is gaining new members, albeit slowly. As we approach the coming year, I ask all of us to witness three things: God’s Story, Your Story, and our Neighbors Story. These are personal stories that touch each of us differently: emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
In preparation for the fall roll-out of our Stewardship agenda, I’d like you to consider a few principles I learned about in a little book called “The Treasure Principles – Unlocking the secret to joyful giving”, by Randy Alcorn. I admit these may require a bit of recalibration of our minds, but as Christians we know in our hearts these principles are what the Lord asks of us. I’ve captured his main points below.
#1. God owns everything; we are his manager of everything that we possess. First and fore-most we give to God; before anything else, giving is an act of worship.
#2. Our hearts always go where we put our money. God’s looking for disciples immersed in the causes we give to. He wants people so filled with a vision for eternity that we wouldn’t dream of not investing our money, time, and prayers where they will matter most.
#3. Heaven, not earth, is my home. We tend/choose to store treasure on where we think our home is. We must change the way we think and live. We can’t take earthly treasures with us, but we can send treasures ahead through giving.
#4. We should not live for the dot but for the line. We can keep earthly treasures for the moment and derive temporary enjoyment from them. But if we give them away, we’ll enjoy eternal treasures that will never be taken from us.
#5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism. Giving doesn’t strip me of vested interests, rather it shifts my vested interests from earth to heaven – from self to God. Time, wisdom, and expertise are wonderful gifts. Giving, breaks affluence’s fever. Giving breaks us free from the gravitational hold of money and possessions. Giving shifts us to a new center of gravity – Heaven!
And last but not least:
#6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving. God comes right out and tells us why he gives us more money than we need. Not to find more ways to spend it; but rather so we can give – generously.
After internalizing these principles, it has helped me better understand the depth to which I’m capable of giving of my time, energy, and money. I pray you will also look within, to also free your heart to the generosity the Lord has given you for eternal life in heaven.
Peace Be With You – Roger Lehrer
Stewardship: Generosity as an expression of faith.
In response to God’s grace, we have a personal commitment to be generous to the lord with our time, talents, knowledge & resources, in order to sustain and grow our congregation.
As Lutheran’s, we often see our response to God’s grace as generosity toward one another and as an expression of our own faith. A faith born from our own story; our own experiences that God instilled in each of us. We’re each unique, like a fingerprint, in how the lord loved and protected us; saved and taught us; guided and molded us; challenged us; and gifted us with his grace throughout our lives. Thus, making us into who we are today. Every day we should be thinking of ways to return what we have been given.
Generosity is a virtue of giving good things often freely. Things can be given as gifts or money or it can be given of oneself, through hospitality, emotional support, or volunteer services. Most importantly, generosity must be taught, learned, and practiced – recognizing it’s in our own self-interest, and very rewarding.
As I said, generosity comes in many ways. Shaped by our own past and current experiences. Experiences influenced by community such as our parents, family members, friends, neighbors, and our faith community (church); well-being such as health and finances which we all struggle with; habits and making ourselves available and helping others; and by beliefs, the putting of faith and trust in God. I learned that 89% of Christians are grateful for God’s grace.
In moving ahead, we must depend on each other, we can’t do Generosity or life alone, or left to only a few people. To sustain and grow we must collaborate (many hands make work easy, and success come quickly); we must cultivate our generosity through opportunities to give, learning from the actions of others, volunteering, and listening to develop knowledge and best practices. We should acknowledge and lift each other up by sharing our stories with each other and/or neighbors and provide support and teach through example.
In closing I want to share my father’s favorite verse (and now mine) – Micah 6:8. “He has showed you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” God has entrusted this Holy Church to us! How are we going to handle it?
Peace Be With You – Roger Lehrer
STEWARDSHIP: A PERSONAL RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE
My fellow Lutheran’s, I can already see the pained look on your faces when you read the word “Stewardship.” Oh no, not another request for money, pledge cards, or how we need to budget better in order to give financially to the church. For years, as I’ve moved from one congregation to another, the annual language seemed to be the same, it was about the need of the congregation to receive, rather than the need of the giver to give.
Recently, I was asked to join in a “stewardship committee” in the hopes of developing an All Saints Lutheran Church Stewardship Plan. Our vision statement is: In response to God’s grace, we have a personal commitment to be generous to the lord with our time, talents, knowledge & resources in order to sustain and grow our congregation. By this statement, we recognize that stewardship encompasses so much more than money. It is a way of life and calls for the integration between our faith and the way that we live our lives – we are a congregation, a faith, that is energized by lively engagement in our faith and life. Stewardship is a mindset (personal with God), a culture and a discipline that can never be contained in an annual three-week financial response. According to Clarence Stoughton, former president of Wittenberg University, stewardship is everything we do after we say, “I believe.” It is a way in which we use all the resources that God has entrusted to our care so that we can love God and our neighbor. Stewardship is about LOVE.
I’d like to end with a quote from Kathy Fiscus, Central Lutheran Church, MN. She nails it by saying, “Stewardship is a matter of the heart. My stewardship practices are a response to the boundless love God first showed me. It means that I am grateful for all that God has generously entrusted to me. As a faithful steward and child of God, I understand that the decisions I make, in all aspects of my life, reveal my priorities. It is a privilege to share time, talents and finances, to care for God’s earth and to serve my neighbors. Being a good steward has brought me great joy and has helped me grow spiritually. I am blessed to be a blessing.”
In the weeks and months ahead, our committee will share more of our plan with you. We hope that you will humbly join us as we invite your ideas and input.
Most respectfully – Peace Be With You, Roger Lehrer