Stewardship Murphy
Notes from the pastor
We hear this one word, and immediately our minds jump to capital campaigns, managing our finances, and the discipline of tithing.  Indeed, there are few things in the church that people fear more than conversation and preaching that concerns “stewardship.”
I get it.  The word and the idea seem to conceal an agenda bent on getting you to open your wallet and support the ministries of the church (and its operating expenses).  Year after year the call comes, and year after year the language of stewardship crashes against us like ocean waves on rocks.  Historically, the church hasn’t done a great job of teaching stewardship, and you wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that the church needs to repent of the ways it has used tactics of guilt and shame to increase giving and fulfill the demands of its annual budget.  In fact, I’d join that movement myself, were there one.
However, the call going out this year is a call to embrace stewardship as a holistic way of living in gratitude to God.  In Romans 12, Paul encourages his sisters and brothers: “because of God’s mercies, present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is.”  Stewardship, as it were, encompasses a transformed way of seeing and living in the world—not according to the patterns of the world, but the pattern of Christ.  Instead of serving only ourselves, we seek instead to be self-giving disciples of the One whose grace makes all life and gifts possible.
God created humanity to care and guard the gift of life in all its forms, to hold our possessions loosely lest they become our god, and to be open-handed to those in need. John Wesley beautifully captured this in his famous sermon “The Use of Money,” in which Wesley casts a vision of stewardship centered on three principles of earning all we can and saving all we can, so that we may give all we can in a posture of love.  This October, we will focus on Wesley’s model of stewardship with the hope that we learn to handle money and resources before they handle us!  We’re calling it, “Earn. Save. Give.”  Stay tuned for more!  
    ~  Patrick Murphy
Last Published: September 20, 2016 1:34 PM
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