Stewardship doesn’t have to be difficult. We often make it more difficult than it need be. The fundamentals of stewardship come from answering these basic questions: Who are you? To whom do I give? And how much? It’s that simple.
So who are you? Look at the Table of Duties in the Small Catechism. Are you a hearer of God’s Word? Are you a citizen of society? Are you a member of a family? Stewardship covers these three estates: church, society, family. We don’t particularly struggle to give to society or family. Our struggles, our difficulties and questions, arise in giving to the church.
So what are our stewardship duties as members of the church? The Table of Duties gives us a guide. If you are a hearer, a member of the church who receives instruction, St. Paul taught: “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor” (Gal 6:6). This means that the local congregation is primary.
The primary recipient of stewardship resides here.. Your pastor is the one called to preach the Gospel to you and administer the Lord’s blessed sacraments to you. Your congregation is the place where those things are given out. Therefore, we give to the local congregation to ensure that this continues. We don’t vote with our giving. We don’t let the pastor or the congregation know we are unhappy by how we give: because we are supposed to see our giving as giving to our Lord!
Thus, when God calls us to give to the church, He has His work in mind – especially right where we live. For “the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Cor 9:14). “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal 6:7).
How much do we give to the local congregation? Our only instructions are these: to give regularly (1 Cor 6:1–2), proportionally (1 Cor 16:1–2; 2 Cor 8:12), and generously (2 Cor 8:20) of our first fruits (Gen 4:4; Prov 3:9; Lev 27:30) with a spirit of eagerness (2 Cor 9:2), earnestness (2 Cor 8:7), cheerfulness (2 Cor 9:7), and love (2 Cor 8:23).
In other words, giving to the church is not to be an afterthought, given after everything else is spent. In this way, it is deliberate. We set it aside beforehand, before anything else is spent. From those first fruits, we set aside a proportionate and generous amount. Ten percent was the standard for the Israelites. This was a command for them. We’re not bound to that command in the same way as they were. Just like we are not bound to all the regulations of the Sabbath day (no physical labor, no hot meals, etc.). But the pattern remains: Christians still gather for worship once a week, for how could we do less than the Israelites did? Likewise, does it seem right that we would support the New Testament ministry at a rate less than the Israelites supported the Old Testament ministry?
And how are we to give it? We give it with eagerness and earnestness. We give it cheerfully and with love, not out of compulsion. For through the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments, God has made us His children, forgiven us all our sins, given us grace upon grace, promised us life everlasting with Him in His kingdom, and filled us with His own Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This makes giving a joy. For it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
It’s that easy. And it is joyful. For in stewardship, our gracious and giving Lord invites us to take part in the work that He accomplishes here on earth, providing for the ongoing preaching of the Gospel as well as those who are in need. Taking part in that, makes all our work holy work, work that is done in service to the Lord as priestly members of His kingdom.
Pastor’s Monthly Letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church Wellington,
Greetings in the New Year! Of course, we are already more than a month into the Church year. Did you know that we are still in the twelve days of Christmas, which ends on January 6, Epiphany? The feast of Epiphany, on January 6th, has traditionally been the day when we celebrate the appearance of Jesus as a “Light to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32) in the visit of the Magi—the Wise Men, and later, at His presentation in the Temple; His appearance in the Temple before the teachers, and His baptism in the Jordan—all the events leading up to the beginning of His three year ministry.
It’s good for us to reflect in this month also on Jesus’ circumcision, presentation, and dedication in the Temple as the firstborn, His childhood spent in growing in human wisdom and strength, submitting to His parents’ authority, and finally His submitting to baptism administered by a saint and sinner—John the Baptist. For submitting to others, deferring to authority, rubs the Old Adam in us the wrong way. We no more like to submit to those whom we consider our inferiors in intelligence, or strength, or in any other way, than the first Adam and Eve liked submitting to God’s authority. They wanted to be at least equal to God. That was the bait that the serpent, Satan, used to lure Eve, that she and Adam would become like God if they ate of the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:5). And that desire to be number one, or a least not below anybody less able, less deserving than us, has been inherited by us all.
We sinful humans can’t stand being number two. So we scramble and scratch and fight our way to the top. But this is not God’s way. God doesn’t want us to harm each other, but to live in peace and harmony with our neighbor. One of the reasons He gave us the law, written in our hearts, and on the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, is so we wouldn’t tear each other apart. But most of all He gave us the Law so that we would see our claws, that we would see our selfishness, self-righteousness, self-seeking, and self-entitlement, our rebellion against the order of His creation, so that we would see that we need a Savior, for we can’t declaw ourselves. We can try, but the claws just grow back.
And God did send us a Savior, His Son, who, unlike us, would submit to those inferior to Himself: His mother and Father first, then the teachers in the Temple; John the Baptist, His disciples; the Pharisees; the Sadducees, the Scribes, Elders and High Priests; the Sanhedrin; Herod; Pilate; the mob screaming for His death; the Roman soldiers who crucified Him, the onlookers who mocked Him. Finally He would submit to the sentence of God’s Law on sin, not Jesus ‘sin, but ours. He submitted to everyone, even though He was smarter, stronger, wiser, purer, braver, more deserving than anyone else. For He came not only to die for our sins, but also to show us how a child of God lives. Jesus had the right to become indignant at His treatment, but instead He showed His respect, love, and obedience to His Father, and to the order of the creation created by Him, by His willing submission.
So the next time we feel slighted by someone we feel should have more respect for us, the next time we think that submitting to someone else is a sign of weakness, let us look at Jesus, who had no one superior to Him, but submitted anyway to those His Father had placed in authority. Let us give thanks that He gave us His Holy Spirit in Baptism, so that by daily remembering it we might become less and less prideful, and more and more humble. Let us give thanks that He has covered our sins with His white robe of righteousness. We can pull in our claws now, into the sleeves of that robe, because we no longer need them to fight our way to the top. Jesus has won the fight already, against sin, death, and the devil. He has climbed out of the grave and ascended to the top, to heaven itself, for us. Submitting to God’s order, to His Law, to the fact that we are forgiven solely by grace through faith, and not because we deserve respect from God, is not an easy way. It is in fact the narrow way. But it is the Lord’s way, the way, the truth and the life that is Christ Himself. (John 14:6)
(I am including below our year-end family newsletter that Vickie wrote, and a photo that Debbie Galliart took of our Wellington family, to give you and idea of what happened in our lives this last year.)
Blessings on the last Days of Christmas, and Epiphany. May the Lord appear to you every day in His Word and the remembrance of the Sacrament of your Baptisms.
Dear Family and Friends,
We pray that you are having a blessed and joyous Advent and Christmas season! We had a wonderful year full of blessings and love. Just want to share a few of the highlights with you.
Our beautiful daughter, Vanessa Faith, turned two in March. She is an active and loving little toddler who talks all the time 🙂 Love hearing what she has to say! She really wants to go to school now, but we tell her she has to wait. We’re hoping to start her at Wellington Christian Academy this next Fall for a few hours a week. Right now I’m taking her to our library in town on Wednesday mornings for story time. She loves the interaction with the other kids and the activities. She is our love and joy!
We really enjoyed our last year at Seminary. Call Day in April is a much anticipated and joyous day for the Seminary community. We were excited to find out that Bill was called to Calvary Lutheran Church in Wellington, KS. We looked it up on the map, and were delighted to find out that we would only be about a three hour drive from most of our family and friends. Bill is enjoying his new church; working hard and getting to know the members. They have been very welcoming to us, and excited to have us here. God has blessed us with a faithful and loving church family!
Bill wrapped up his schooling by graduating from Concordia Seminary in May. He worked hard, learned so much, and enjoyed all his interactions with his teachers and fellow students in his four years here. It was a special day for us! We were blessed to have so many from my family attend the ceremony, and especially thrilled to have all our kids and Bill’s sister here from the West Coast. We celebrated our grandson, Camden’s, first birthday with a little party. And, just enjoyed our time together. Although Bill’s folks were not able to attend, we all descended on them in Lawrence and spent more time together.
Bill, Vanessa and I bought a house we love in Wellington. It is just a short drive to church for Bill. We moved into it in June. Vanessa and I take many walks around our quiet neighborhood. The sunsets are spectacular
on the edge of town 🙂 I love being home with Vanessa all the time. And, we love visitors! Please come see us any time! Then Bill was ordained and installed at the end of June. It was a beautiful day with family and friends!
We really enjoyed attending Jason and Nikki’s wedding in the Ozark’s in July. It was the first wedding Bill officiated. He was happy to be a part of this special occasion. We had so much fun at the resort with our family! Then we welcomed their beautiful little girl, Paizlee Rose, into our family in October. She had a lovely baptism in November. We were blessed to see her become a child of God, and look forward to seeing her again at Christmas. While this is a very busy time in the church year, we plan to head to Linn after our service at Calvary on Christmas Day to celebrate Christ’s birth with our family for a couple days.
Amy, Jon and Camden [our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson] are doing well in Santa Rosa, CA. They are busy with their jobs, and their adorable, active little boy. They are looking forward to Jon’s folks moving into town from southern CA some time this next year. Camden is getting so big! We miss him (and his folks)!
Elizabeth and Drew [our middle daughter and son-in law] are settled into Seattle; enjoying their jobs and active lifestyle. They just bought a house! We’re so excited for them. Hope to see it, and them, either this summer or the next. We miss them, too!
The five of them are hoping to make a trip to KS in March to see all of us. And, we are planning on going to see them for our family vacation some time this summer. It’ll be fun!
We are so blessed by our family and friends! We are so grateful for good health, and continue to pray that everyone stays happy and healthy. May God continue to bless you and keep you as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! God’s peace!
Vickie, Bill and Vanessa
As God’s family in Christ, Calvary Lutheran Church is committed to sharing God’s Word, Christ’s love and our faith. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO…. ….. Wade Hodson January 5 ….. Avery Crossman January 7 ….. Curt Bergemann January 9 ….. Kyler Henry January 11 ….. Drew Hodson January 14 ….. Ellen Kerr January 23 ….. Mary Scheerger January 24 …. Kenneth Thompson January 24 ….. Kristi Whaley January 26 HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO… …. Pastor and Vickie Wingfield January 4 OFFICIATING ELDER Brent Cooper USHER Matt Biehler ALTAR GUILD Darlene Ferguson Sharon Zoglmann ACOLYTES January 4: Quinn McCue January 11: Jace Lawrence January 18: Karlie Biehler January 25: Cheyenne Cooper
LUTHERAN HOUR SCHEDULE
January 4 “Gospel Power for Personal Patience” Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Gregory Seltz Jesus teaches us to be patient and wait with hope in God’s promises. (Luke 2:40-52)
January 11 “Are You Qualified?” Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Gregory Seltz God qualifies us for eternal life through our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection. (Romans 6:1-11)
January 18 “The Antidote” Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Gregory Seltz Jesus is the antidote for our cynicism and doubt. (John 1:43-51)
January 25 “Just the Facts” Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour: Rev. Ken Klaus God’s truth, as revealed in the Bible, remains true regardless of whether anyone believes it or not. (Isaiah 5:20-21)
The Lutheran Hour Ark City KSOK 1280 AM Sunday 8:00 AM
The Lutheran Hour Ark City KSOK 95.9 FM Sunday 10:30 AM
The Lutheran Hour Wichita KFTI 1070 AM Sunday 8:35 AM
The office will be closed New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Please travel safe and have a wonderful New Year!
The Pastor will be on vacation in Lincoln, Nebraska from the evening of January 4th to the evening of January 7th. He will also be out of the office (during the day) January 26th-28th. The office hours will be 8:00-12:00. In case of emergency, you may always call the pastor on his cell phone.
Reminder: Please check the new website for any cancelations or updates at www.calvarywellington.org. If you have any suggestions on anything you would like to see included on the website, please let the office know.
Portals of Prayer: are now in your mailboxes.
Sunday School Teacher Schedule
Jan 4: Joan
Jan 11: Angela
Jan 18: Loryn
Jan 25: Vickie
Feb 1: Darlene
Feb 8: Joan
Feb 15: Angela
Feb 22: Loryn
March 1: Vickie
March 8: Darlene
March 15: Joan
March 22: Angela
March 29: Loryn