“Those that seek the Lord shall never be in want of any good thing.”
– Psalm 33:11 from the Service of the Artoklasia
2016 Christian Stewardship
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Do Your Best
A traditional American proverb says, “God makes this request of his children: Do the best you can with what has been given to you.” The story of Jesus Christ feeding the five thousand [John 6] illustrates this saying through the offering of a young boy. The lad did his best with what he had – five loaves and two fish. Jesus used these gifts to perform an incredible miracle.
The Economy of Heaven
After the Lord had finished His teaching, the disciples asked the people to leave in order to go into the village to buy themselves food. [Matt. 14] Jesus responded, “There is no need for them to go away; give them food to eat.” The disciples were dumbfounded since they had neither the financial capacity nor the great quantity of food to fulfill His wishes.
Jesus’ response made clear that the economy of Heaven is not measured in the same way as its earthly counterpart. The gifts of Heaven are limitless while those from below are limiting. The disciples did not realize that they were being called to participate in a heavenly miracle by simply offering what they had.
Bring Them to Me
When the disciples tell Jesus that all they have are five loaves and two small fish that a boy has offered, His response to this is, “Bring them to me.” Jesus then takes the loaves and after blessing them He breaks them in order to miraculously feed 5,000 men plus women and children.
This miracle teaches us that Jesus provides for all our spiritual and physical needs. As the faithful, we must offer Him gifts so that He may work through them and with us to enact a heavenly marvel. During the Divine Liturgy, we offer bread and wine. Having accepted these gifts, He returns them to us as His body and blood in Holy Communion. By offering ourselves, we become the Church, His body on earth. No matter how much we give, He cannot be outdone. Just like the boy who offered the loaves and the fish, if we offer what we have – however great or small our gift – with prayer and humility, God will receive these gifts and multiply them to feed and nourish His people.
Stewardship is about Joy
Please do not offer gifts to the Lord out of fear of judgment in the afterlife. The faithful Steward gives with joy and as part of spiritual enrichment and growth. Each one of us, being Stewards of God’s grace, is expected to experience the joy of heaven now in this present life. Bring your gifts to the Lord with a joyful heart. In so doing, these gifts can help shape our world in such a way that we can experience God’s grace presently. This perspective on Christian Stewardship is so tremendously important for it emphasizes the now rather than the later.
Hard work may bring power and success but only God can bring peace, love, and joy. St. John Chrysostom says, “The rich man is not the one who has collected many possessions but the one who needs few possessions; and the poor man is not the one who has few possessions but one who has many desires.” To become rich or poor is based on the attachment to the earthly elements. By offering all our gifts to God, the heavenly treasure reserved for us becomes overwhelmingly great.
Put away the Pie Chart
Stewardship is not about calculations, portions or percentages. Neither is it based on the number of service-hours or dollars contributed. Christian Stewardship is a mindset – a way of life. In true Stewardship, we do not give to the Church for any specific purpose such as paying bills. We bring our gifts to God with joy in thanksgiving for what He has done for us.
The true motivation for giving is grace. Giving is an act of worship in response to God’s generosity. “You are to give,” says Saint Paul, “as God has prospered you. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” God blesses those who give with generosity.
Stewardship giving is not about, “How much do I give to stay in the club?” or “What are the dues?” The real question we need to ask ourselves is “How do I thank God for my many blessings?” As Orthodox Christians, we are called to a new way of seeing things – a new way of life in Christ. Stewardship is obedience to the greatest commandment to “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” We are called to bring ourselves and others to follow the new life in Christ.
Should I Increase My Stewardship for 2016?
In making this decision, one should keep in mind the Family of Holy Trinity and her ministries. In order to grow our ministries and meet our expenses, each Steward should strive to increase his pledge annually. Please know that your Stewardship Pledge is kept in confidence by the priest.
Ministry Resources Helping One Another
The Holy Trinity Operating Budget for this calendar year will be $778,000. The budget anticipates that Stewardship giving will support all Parish Ministries and the entire operation budget. It also places the responsibility of caring for the parish on the shoulders of the Steward. The Operating Budget calculates that each family should give $1,550 annually or just $30/week. Your Stewardship offering supports these vital ministries that touch the lives of each Steward:
Worship and Ministry…….…$107,900
Keeping in Touch With You…..$93,600
Maintaining our Buildings…….$69,500
Those Who Serve Us……..…$392,000
Total 2016 Budget……….… $778,000
Private & Confidential
Your Stewardship Pledge is kept in confidence by your priest. Jesus taught that our giving should be done quietly, generously and out of sight of others. If you wish to revise your pledge during the year for any reason, you may send a note to the parish priest indicating your intentions.
You may remit your pledge in the manner that suits you best. Since small regular contributions are easier to manage, it is suggested that your contribution be made on a weekly basis. “On the first day of every week (Sunday), each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” (1Corinthians 16:2)
For your convenience, you may remit your pledge via Credit Card using our secure online website. Stewardship donations can be charged to your Credit Card on a Weekly, Monthly or Annual basis.
Orthodox Christians who wish to become parishioners in good standing in our Parish may become Stewards of Holy Trinity by making a Stewardship Pledge for the current year. We welcome you to become a member and participant in the sacramental life of the church. Please call the church office for more information: 908.233.8533.