What does it mean?
Stewardship, for a lot of folks, is when the church asks for money to pay the bills. St. Luke's is working to change that perception. Faithful stewardship is not about giving money to meet our church budget. The fact of the matter is that our obligations to God and the world stretch far beyond the four walls of St. Luke's.
So what is stewardship?
"Stewardship is the process of deepening our relationship with God through the giving of our time, talent and financial resources."
Some have called this "new stewardship" - where we take a whole new look at how we think about our faith, our church and the Christ we profess to follow. But there's nothing really "new" about the concept of giving in response to all that God has done for us. God's work is 24/7. It encompasses the world and its needs, and, we, as Christians, are called by God to be engaged in the world.
St. Luke's "Stewardship Team" is working hard to make stewardship a year-round activity where we share on a regular basis the many ministries that St. Luke's is carrying on. We see our task as helping to educate our members about biblical stewardship - that we have been "blessed to be a blessing" - and that the focus is really on our need to give rather than the congregation's need to receive.
Consider this an invitation to take a good look at how richly God has blessed you. Take a good look at the many programs and ministries that are offered here at St. Luke's and see where God is calling you to participate in making this ministry even more effective than it already is. It's all about deepening our relationship with God and then responding. It's all about Jesus Christ and the new life he brings to all who believe.
Tithes & Offerings
What is a tithe and how is it different from and offering? The word "tithe" literally means tenth or 10%. A tithe is 10% of your income. An offering is anything you give above and beyond the 10%.
Why do we tithe? The Bible says, The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives (Deuteronomy 14:23 TLB). Tithing is a reminder that God is the supplier of everything we have. It is also God's personal invitation to an outpouring of his blessing in your life.
In Malachi 3:10, God says this: "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing." This is the only place in Scripture where God tells us to put him to the test. In other words, he's saying, "Go ahead. I dare you. See if you can out-give me."
Is God wise? Do you trust him? These are two fundamental questions behind the act of giving. If God is wise, then you should listen to what he says about financial stewardship. If you trust him, then you should trust him with all aspects of your life, including your finances. So go ahead. Accept God's invitation to put him to the test. Start tithing faithfully and watch what he does in and through your life.