Our Stewardship Faith-Promise
(Author Unknown)
 

  • If it is a promise without prayer or self-examination, it is at best a shallow thing.

  • If it is thought of a a tip for the church, it is an affront to the Almighty.

  • If it represents what you feel to be your share of the budget, it will be no benefit to you.

  • If it is made grudgingly, it reveals how little the Cross means to you.

  • If it is less than you spend for entertainment, it shows that you value recreation above Creation.

  • If you cannot afford to offer a meaningful faith-promise, then you have not read the New Testament.

  • If you make no promise, it is your vote to close the door of God's Church.

  • If it is left blank, it is a sign you have not fully grasped God's blessings.

  • If it has decreased because someone has offended you, it shows you are unaware of God's love of you when you have offended God.

  • If you are proud of your giving, you have earned a seat among the Pharisees.

  • And, if you wish it to be spent only in the local community, remember how far Laconia is from Golgotha.

 BUT......

  • If your faith-promise is a real sacrifice for you, it shows clearly you understand the Cross of Christ.

  • If it is in proportion to your income, it will be meaningful to you.

  • If it is sacrificial though small, it is a delight in the eyes of God.

  • If it is sacrificial and substantial, it will transform your life.

  • If it is more than you had planned to give, it is evidence of Faith at work in your heart.

  • If it is given with no thought of self, it will be returned to you a hundred-fold.

  • If it is given with regret that it could not be more, it is your link with the saints of history.

  • If it is made as a humble offering to God, it is one of your greatest forms of worship.

  • And, if it is made utterly dependent upon your faith in the Providence of God, it will open a hidden door to glimpse the face of God! 

 

Who is a steward?

A steward is a person who receives and recognizes God's abundance.
A steward is a person who praises God with generous giving.
A steward is a person who recognizes and cares for that which God has entrusted to him or her.
A steward is a person who lives in harmony with God's creation. 

How is being a steward expressed in my life?

Being a good steward can be thought of in three ways, giving of time, self, and wealth.  These three do not exhaust the meaning of stewardship but serve as a guid for living the life of a steward.

Today time has great value.  We are often very busy, and yet we are asked to share some of our precious time without expecting any return.  For some people this means working at a church-related ministry, serving on a board or committee, teaching children or adults, leading a bible study group or helping at worship.  Others share their time in community service, in working with the poor, hungry, or homeless, or in helping people build homes, and learn computer skills.  Good stewards may also advocate for fair housing.  Whatever a steward does, by sharing some time, the steward helps to build something greater than any one of us.

The giving of self is closely related to the giving of time.  Each of us has particular gifts that have been given us for the building up of God's reign, and for the good of all people.  By our sharing we commit our lives, as disciples of Jesus, to the service of others.  In our writing and advocating for justice or in our baking bread and writing poetry, we are putting ourselves at the service of all.

The third category, that of wealth, can be the most challenging of the three.  For many the use of money is an intensely personal subject, yet as stewards we are called into a more generous accounting of our use of money.  In the United Church of Christ tithing is held in high regard by many as the model for giving and as a starting point for the faithful use of money.  Proportional giving challenges us to consider what percent of our income we will give, without restriction, to those places and programs that do the work we find meaningful.  In this case the gift may be higher, or in some cases lower, than a tithe but proportional giving encourages us to be intentional about giving and, in some cases, challenges us to increase our giving in proportion to what we continue to receive.  The decision about how much is necessary to keep and how much to give away is a spiritual decision.

In addition to regular gifts to the church, there are opportunities presented to the local churches of the UCC to give special offerings for a wide range of needs, from disaster relief and compassionate care for our neighbors to new church starts and supoprt for retired church workers.

What are our call and challenge as stewards/disciples?

In a world influenced by consumerism and greed a steward/disciple is called and challenged to be a voice and a presence for another way, the way of compassion and generosity, shown most clearly in Jesus.  Therefore, in response to Jesus' call and challenge, we in the United Church of Christ, expect and encourage one another:  to be disciples in all aspects of life, to give as each needs to give and as others need to be helped, and to decide what gifts are given in and through the United Church of Christ. 

© 2016 by St. Peter's United Church of Christ.