Happy and Blessed New Year! This message marks the first of Stewardship’s new communication initiative to you. Every Sunday you will receive a different message approved by Father George, Father Isaac and our Parish Council designed to initiate a Stewardship campaign for the year 2016 as part of our Theology of Giving series. It is our hope that everyone who receives these messages will read them carefully, consider the information they present, and, through prayer and reflection, change the manner in which the members of our Parish make their offerings.
This Stewardship drive is designed to give us the opportunity to thank God for the blessings He has given to us all. If we profess belief in the Orthodox faith and if we love God, we must demonstrate this through our words and our actions. In the book of Proverbs 3 9-10, we read …
“Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Stewardship involves giving the first fruits of our time, our talents, and our resources to the glory of God. Everything we do at work, at play, and with our families must find us behaving in ways which glorify God. This is not only our duty as Orthodox Christians; it is a way of life which brings us the greatest joy and fulfillment.
Our Parish provides all of us with a place to worship and with a place to receive the holy sacraments of the Orthodox faith. For this we must be eternally thankful. Our Parish also sponsors activities and programs designed to raise funds for worthy projects and to provide fellowship for our families. Our help and support of these activities is part of what we mean when we use the word Stewardship.
The goal of this campaign is to help all Parishioners realize that the offering of our time, our talents, and our resources represents a way for us to show our thanks for the blessings God has bestowed on us and on our families. Truly, everything we have is a gift from God.
What does it mean to offer our “first fruits?” We need to be very literal about this particular passage from the Bible. Before we allocate time to devote to our jobs, we must allocate time to worship God. Before we set aside time to go to the movies or to play golf, or to work in the yard, we must allocate time to serve God and the needs of His Church. Before we agree to commitments for the school, sports, and other interest of our children, we need to make sure that there is time in their lives to learn about God’s love. Before we pay our monthly bills, we must set aside a portion of our resources in thanksgiving to God for His many blessings. God wants us to enjoy full and enjoyable lives on this earth, but we are called upon to do this by adhering to the teachings and practices of Orthodox Christian teachings.
Without this kind of commitment to our faith, we might be in danger of being believers in word, but not in deed. God demands from us, His children, total devotion to His word. Every aspect of our lives must be lived in accordance with His teachings. When it comes to our offerings to the Church, in many cases, we need to do more to explore God’s true teaching about giving. As we begin this year-long journey together, we ask you to open your minds and your hearts to the possibility of learning information that can transform the way you give to the Church. Acquiring this knowledge of God’s teachings will go a long way towards helping us not only know the joy of giving of “the first fruits,” but also knowing how to follow this practice in practical terms and within the context of our busy and pressure packed live.
Stewardship Corner Blog