“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
The Lord does not deny you that which you need, neither should you deny the man whom the Lord has sent to encounter you in order to test your heart. If a beggar extends his hand to you for help once in your life, give to him and do not refuse. Remember how many years there are in your life and how many are the hours in a day and how many are the minutes in an hour-every minute of so many, many thousands of days you extend your hand to the Lord and the Lord gives and does not refuse. Remember the mercy of God and your lack of mercy will burn you as a live coal and it will never give you any peace until you repent and soften your heart.
During many discussions related to Stewardship – I have been asked why? Why the change from membership? Why is Stewardship so important? Why do I have to worry about my Time, Talents and Treasures? How and why is Stewardship related to my Salvation?
My personal response has been – “I worry about my Salvation each and every day and I understand when I stand before the dread judgment seat of Christ, I will be asked about many things, including my works and what I did with what God provided.” Everything that we have belongs to God. It’s on loan for this very short period of time we are here on earth. If we truly strive for the Heavenly and seek His Eternal Kingdom, let’s focus on being great caretakers of God’s possessions! We are responsible!
One unique responsibility of a Steward is to support the Church’s ministries through the giving of his or her Time and Talents. These ministries vary across all parishes – some are well known while others support a specific need within the community.
Stewards may not be aware of all of the ministries that they can support, which is why a parish may consider hosting a Ministry Sunday. The primary objective is to have ministry representatives available for discussion, answer questions, provide materials and allow the Stewards to volunteer. Many parishes have benefited from fellowship, stronger bonds and greater support of all of the ministries.
Whether is it held during a coffee hour using a few tables or in the Church’s social hall with a table representing each ministry, this is a blessed opportunity to provide a learning experience. Each Steward can proceed from table to table; ask questions and sign up for what he or she is most interested in.
The 10th Commandment says “Do not covet” and covetousness is defined as being greedy, acquisitive and having a strong desire for material possessions. Step 16 of The Ladder of Divine Ascent defines this as avarice which is a need for excess.
Many when they hear a sermon against avarice, detest the vice and extol contempt of earthly goods, but as soon as the soul sees something it desires, it forgets what it once extolled. Often we feel compunctions for our own faults and, nevertheless, once our lamentations are over, we return to those same faults.
As you prepare for the fall season, focus on the goal of simplifying your life. Consider doing less (and needing less) so you can gain so much more as it relates to Stewardship and your relationship with Christ!
Do not consider your riches as belonging to yourselves alone; open wide your hand to those who are in need; assist those in poverty and pain; comfort those who have fallen into extreme distress; console with those who are in sorrow or oppressed with bodily maladies, and the want of necessities; and also comfort the Saints who embrace a voluntary poverty so they may serve God without distraction.
St. Cyril of Alexandria