“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
In last week’s message, we talked about good Stewardship involving the giving of our time, talents, and resources as actions based on our belief in God. We are taught that our faith must be matched with action. We are blessed at Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church with many Parishioners who give freely and generously of their time to Church projects. We are thankful that so many of our Parishioners share their talents to further the work of our Parish and its various organizations and auxiliaries. Teachers, engineers, lawyers, business owners, cabinet makers, restaurant owners, financial experts, and so many others find ways to enhance Church projects with their special skills. We hope this 52-week series of messages will encourage even more of our Parishioners to evaluate their availability of time and their special talents to find ways to give them in support of our Parish and the glory of God.
We also pray that this series will result in our Parishioners giving new thought to decisions they make about the resources they give to our blessed Church in thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings. The Bible teaches that it is the sacred obligation of all believers to make sacrificial and proportional offerings to God in thanksgiving for God’s many blessings to us. We know many believers who tithe to their Church. The ten percent they offer is seen as their obligation to God and their offering to Him in recognition of His love for us. While we pray for God to strengthen us in our ability to give with this much faith, we often need facts and figures to guide decisions about how much to pledge and give to the Church on a weekly, monthly, and on an annual basis. Our ultimate goal, however, is to reach the point where the kind of statistics listed below, while important and useful to share with all Parishioners, will not be major factors in determining our level of giving. The only factor that influences how much we give should be our faith in God and our desire to give in direct proportion of how much He has given to us.
Our annual Parish budget of projected expenses amounts to approximately $350,000.00. Fortunately we are blessed to have a small number of generous donors that fulfill approximately 80% of that budget. But they only make up about 20% of the Parish membership. Therefore we are asking those of you who have not yet pledged to commit to an amount you think you can sustain every year to ensure our future together as a Parish. For those of you who have already pledged, we ask you to review your finances and see if you can increase the amount of your pledge so that the burden does not fall on only these few donors. By increasing your pledge, you increase your spiritual giving the way the founding families of this Church did, and will reap the benefits accordingly, as you see every Sunday surrounded by the splendor of their vision manifested.
Stewards are those who assume their responsibilities with joy and with a sense of obligation. Stewards take their service seriously and they know that they must meet these obligations first, before attending to other needs. Our priority daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly is to serve the Lord and His Church by living a life that reflects His teachings. Giving generously, cheerfully, and before anything else, “first fruits,” is the discipline we must develop in order to truly be Orthodox Christian stewards in the manner intended by God.
Stewardship Corner Blog