His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos Responds to Graduation Comments
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the concept of True Christian Stewardship
First off we must ask, what is Stewardship? Stewardship comes from the Greek word “oikonomia”, or economy, which means management of the house or household. In the New Testament, it means man’s management of his whole life in response to God’s love
Man is a steward, a manager of the time, talents and treasures that God has given to him. God as Creator gives us time by granting us life, our very existence. God as Giver of all gifts, grants us our abilities and talents. God as Maintainer, provides for our needs by affording us opportunities to earn a living.
If I believe that God is the Giver, the Owner and I the manager, then it follows that a Steward trusts the Bible’s directions on how to manage God’s gifts. God expects us to give Him thanks by managing our gifts of time, talents and treasures according to His will.
In 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 St. Paul writes: “they gave according to their means as I can testify and beyond their means, of their own free will…but first they gave of themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.”
The essence of Stewardship is that we first give ourselves to God and then seek to do His will as his servants. Unless our hearts are in Christ, then we will find it difficult to do His will. We can only become His servants, by accepting His lordship over our lives.
We can give our time to the Lord by our daily devotion, reading his Word, by attending Church services and by assisting others in need. We can use our talents in response to God’s love by serving God as a Sunday School teacher, a Choir member, a Parish Council or Philoptochos member, by cooking, cleaning and responding to the call of service to others.
We use our treasures, our income, God’s gift to us to glorify His name. A percentage of our income, according to the Bible, is to be used for the work of God on earth. By sharing our earthly treasures with the Lord, we become co-workers with Him in His work of salvation and store up treasures in heaven.
Stewardship, as the management of God’s gifts to us, is the method by which Christians should support their Church. We are to return a portion of what God has given to us back again to God. The parish obligation or dues system limits giving, because it is a fixed fee. God’s blessings on us is not fixed or regulated but is limitless and beyond understanding. Our Stewardship to His Church should be the same – a limitless outpouring of love.
Proportional giving is the more appropriate and Christian way to accomplish this, for it is much more equitable to give according to your means. Those who receive more are asked to give more than those who have less. Through this fashion, the needs of the Church are taken care of fully. Additionally, the decision of how much to give rests with the individual’s conscience and love for God.
Stewardship has been the Christian or Biblical method of Church support through the centuries. Stewardship is putting our faith into action. Stewardship is bringing Christ into our entire life, including our finances. Through our Stewardship pledge, we will support the programs of our parish and our Archdiocesan National Ministries. Through Stewardship, we learn how to be imitators of Christ through the outpouring of love.
Stewardship provides us with the opportunity to contribute on a weekly basis, thus making it easier to increase our capability of giving. Stewardship is a matter of our personal faith in God and He keeps His promises. Listen to what St. Paul writes: “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 and may provide in abundance for every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8