Friday, April 25, 2008


I was listening to the report of the General Council on Finance and Administration yesterday. I was struck by what the President of the council, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, said, and it started me thinking.

Our consumer-driven culture has given us an attitude of scarcity. That attitude inhibits our ability and willingness to serve God. Consider Jesus as he prepared to feed 5000 people. He took five loaves of bread and two fish, and thanked God for them. He had faith that this relatively small amount of food would be abundant. And it was – after every one fed, the disciples gathered 12 baskets of food. God will not call us to a task unless he provides us with everything we need to accomplish it.

The word abundant has a word origin which means “overflowing.” Our gifts from God overflow. Our cup “runneth over” – it overflows. I think stewardship begins with a relationship with God – trust in God. It begins with a realization that all of our gifts come from God – they are grace, freely given, never earned. Once we understand that, then stewardship is response. It is a response to God’s grace in our lives.

Stewardship is the management of the gifts that God has placed in our hands, but it is management using His priorities, not our own. Those gifts may be abilities, skills, money, time – once we realize that all of those are from God, then our response flows – in fact, overflows, out of gratitude. I believe we come to find that as grace transforms us, our priorities become aligned with God’s, and the stewardship that we do becomes a blessing and grace in our lives – another gift of God.



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