Making disciples is the church's mission. People give to cancer research because it is clear to them what the mission is and they value that. People give to educational organizations because it is clear what the organization is doing. Other people give in a very particular way because they believe in what is being accomplished. However the church has not done a good job of communicating the great value in making disciples of Jesus. That is the church's mission.|
The story is told of an elderly woman named Ruth. One Sunday while in church, Ruth fainted and struck her head on the end of the pew. An ambulance was called. The EMTs strapped her to a stretcher and got ready to head out the door. Just then, Ruth regained consciousness. She motioned for her daughter to come near. Everyone thought she was summoning her strength for her final words. The daughter leaned over until her ear was at her mother's mouth. "My offering is in my purse," Ruth whispered.
That elderly woman was a remarkable person. Her last words showed what was of highest importance to her. She was a good steward of the gifts God had given her. Being a good steward means using God-given abilities to manage God-given resources, to help accomplish God's will. That is important. When we think of stewardship we often think of money, the giving of our resources but giving money to church is not stewardship. It is only a part of stewardship but being stewards is inclusive of giving money.
Stewardship includes doing ministry, the giving of our abilities. What you do in ministry for God is not stewardship neither. It is a part of stewardship but - we can't be stewards without the giving of our abilities. It seems that stewardship is not about what we can give. It is also not about what we can do. What then is stewardship about? Stewardship is about having the heart of a steward. In other words, good stewardship is a matter of attitude. It is a matter of the attitude that stands behind our giving and our service. It is not what we give or what we do for God, it is why we do it.
A steward is someone who takes care of something for someone else. If you are a steward, you do not own what you have. So, if we are going to be "stewards for God" we need the attitude that says we do not own our time, our money, our possessions - all are His. They belong to Him. We just manage them. If we can master that attitude, we will be good stewards.
Rev'd. Fr. Colin Humes