Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
Stewardship: Giving to God What Belongs to God—Part One
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. I Corinthians 4:1
Good morning Prayer Team!
The first five paragraphs today are a little “negative”, so keep reading to the bottom today. I can feel the collective “eye roll” as I introduce this subject. J
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “stewardship”? It’s probably money, specifically how much money you are asked to give the church.
“Stewardship,” it seems to me anyway, has taken on a negative connotation. When we think of stewardship, most people think about the forms we have to fill out, the thermometer that is up in nearly every church hall with our parish stewardship goal on it, and being cajoled by the priest to give our “fair share” and pressuring those who haven’t pledged to do so by printing the names of stewards in the parish bulletin. The priest will preach about stewardship as “time, talent and treasure,” but most will only hear the “treasure” part.
There are still parishes in our country that charge “dues” to belong to the church and many people still view stewardship as a membership fee. There are very few people in our churches who “tithe”, the Old Testament commandment about giving ten percent of our property to the Lord.
Stewardship is a sensitive topic, because it involves personal assets. People think that their money is theirs, hard earned by them, and the church should not ask for it, or more than they want to give of it.
And finally, there is sad fact that our financial stewardship is not enough to sustain our church, let alone make them places of outreach and service. Nearly every church must be sustained by a Greek festival and other fundraisers, just to keep the doors open.
This unit on stewardship is going to talk about stewardship in a way that most of us have probably never heard it. There will hardly be a mention of money.
Most people have learned to think of “stewardship” as “$tewardship.” In reality, we should look at “stewardship” as “S+ewardship.” The “t” should be a “+”. Stewardship is actually a holy thing.
So, let’s look beyond our often used definition of “time, talent and treasure”. Because stewardship is much more than this. Stewardship is a way of life. And “S+ewardship” is actually a holy thing, perhaps the most holy thing we will ever do in our lives, because stewardship IS our life itself.
As we make our way through this unit, please read with an open mind and an open heart. Nowhere in this unit will we talk about an open wallet. Because stewardship is not about money. It is about the disposition of our minds and hearts, understanding that each of us is blessed with a unique way to serve the Lord and serve others, and while stewardship encompasses our whole life, it focuses on what you can do TODAY with the day that you have been given.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Know that the Lord is God! It is He that made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him, bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
In prayer today, thank God for the day that He has given you. Thank Him that you are alive and can enjoy another day of life!
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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