“I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” Martin Luther
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington,
Greetings in Christ, and thanks be Him and to God His Father for all His gifts! Everything we have is ultimately from God who created everything and sustains everything to this moment. Were He to stop sustaining the universe for a second, it would collapse into nothingness. The greatest gift of all, though, was His Son, Jesus Christ, who took on our flesh in order to live the sinless, obedient life we could not, who took our sins upon Himself to the cross to die in our place, and pay our penalty. In this greatest gift of all we receive forgiveness for all our sins, peace with God, and eternal life. God gives it to us free of charge, to us, for us, not because we have earned it or deserved it, but simply because God loves us and doesn’t want us to be lost forever. All we do is receive this gift in faith. And God the Holy Spirit even creates the faith that receives this most wonderful-of-all gift! What could be easier? What could be better? What can we possibly do to show our gratitude?
We can give thanks to God. We can keep in His Word. We can trust in His promises. We can strive to live the life He would have us live, according to the Ten Commandments in our vocations. We can pray to Him for our brothers and sisters in the weekly worship of the church and in our daily life. We can give back to Him a small portion of what He has given us—Christian stewardship. Christian stewardship is not some “subcategory of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.” as Rev. Heath Curtis, the coordinator of LCMS Stewardship Ministry, writes in his book, Stewardship Under the Cross. For the Christian life revolves around how we use God’s gifts. Do we receive them with joy, sharing them with those around us, or do we keep them for ourselves? Do we trust in God to provide for us always, or do we trust only in “our own” resources, abilities, shrewdness, talent, and strength?
These are important questions that we will be looking at in the next few months in the monthly Pastor’s letter. I hope these letters will help you understand more clearly what Christian stewardship means. The following article is excerpted from Stewardship Under the Cross, by Pastor H.R. Curtis.
What is Stewardship?
Christian stewardship is the faithful management of our financial resources and all that we have. It begins with the understanding that all we have is God’s (Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”) and that “we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1 Timothy 6:7). Since all we have is God’s, we should use it for His purposes. God’s purpose for us in our lives is expressed in the various vocations, or callings, that we have. So, for example a father and mother use their income to feed, clothe, and protect their children.
Besides the vocations that each of us have in our family life and in society, we are also all Christians and members of this parish. How do we use our income faithfully in regard to this vocation? To learn this we must look to God’s Word.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18, You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
Luke 16:13 Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Malachi 3:8-9 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me.”
2 Corinthians 8:7, 9:6-8 But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for—see that you also excel in this grace of giving…The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything.
What does this mean?
Your heart always goes where you put God’s money. Stewardship is not an optional subcategory of the Christian life; it is the living out of a Christian’s dependence on God. As such, faith and finances are inseparable. True joy is found not in storing up the things of this world, for the things of this world won’t last. True joy is found in clinging to Christ, who poured out His life for you on the cross and now gives you His life in Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. The things of this world are temporarily given to us by God to use and we will be called to account for how we manage the Owner’s things (Romans 14:10-12, 2 Corinthians 5:10)
This month: Prayerfully Consider Your Giving
In this beautiful month of June, prayerfully consider your giving to God’s work in His Church. Are you faithfully giving a first-fruits tithe (10%) of your income to the work of God? Are you, as St. Paul says, “excelling in this grace of giving”? If not, why not? In next month’s newsletter we’ll consider more of what God says about Stewardship—specifically more about tithing (the Biblical practice of giving a tenth of our income to God’s work in the Church)—and provide steps for planning your giving for next year.
We are excited about our Vacation Bible School (VBS) on Saturday, the 13th of June, Te Deum-Praise God! It will be a one-day event, starting at 9:30 and going to 3:00, with worship, singing, learning from the Bible and the Small Catechism about the Lord’s Prayer, crafts, games, snacks and lunch. If you know any children who might be interested, parents may register by sending an email to email@example.com, with the children’s names and ages & contact information. You may also check out our website for further information. CalvaryWellington.org/vbs.
I will be leading a weekly Spanish language Bible study at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Arkansas City, beginning on June 21st, at 6:30 pm, with the gracious assistance of Ms. Emily Soule, Pastor Boxman’s daughter, who speaks Spanish fluently. We will be looking into how the Holy Spirit is working in the world today through His Word, using Lutheran Hour sermons in Spanish as springboards to generate discussion and questions. If you know of anybody who would be interested in attending our class, have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our promotional flyer is included in this newsletter and on our website: CalvaryWellington.org. I ask for your prayers for this class that the Word of God may reach hearts and create and sustain faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On the subject of Bible class, I ask you to prayerfully consider attending our Sunday Bible class, if you have not. We are having a wonderful time going through Luther’s Large Catechism. (No memorization required!) Class starts at 9:15. Remember, you are never too old, or too smart to learn about God! Take it from a man who started seminary at age 58.
God’s blessings in Christ always!
Vacation Bible School-June 13th 9:30a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
TeDeum-”Thanks Be to God!”
Registration is open for all ages. Please email the child’s name and age to email@example.com
Join us while we explore Bible stories, do fun activities, sing songs, make crafts, play games and eat snacks.
Beth Ann Begley and Cory Allen Kerr will lovingly unite in marriage on Wednesday, June 24th in New Boston, Michigan. The couple will reside in Northgate, Ohio. Thank you for your prayers for their happiness.
Dennis & Ellen Kerr
As the weather warms up and school is out for summer, more and more people will be out of town on Sunday mornings. Make it a point to find a church where you can worship away from home. Bring a bulletin home to share when you get back.