Published : Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | 4:24 PM
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For me, Thanksgiving is a reminder to not only give thanks for family and friends, but a time to give thanks to God for the abundant blessings I have received and how I can give back to God as a good steward, in ways that give thanks to God.
I learned my lessons of stewardship from my father. Growing up in the depression my father continued throughout his life to be frugal, but at the same time, a generous and thoughtful giver. Gifts that my dad gave were truly from the heart and giving was a way of life for him.
Dad would find time to spend a day helping a neighbor working on a project, or bring gifts of food – homegrown peaches, tomatoes or plums – to neighbors, his barber, dentist and others ‘just because’. He gave money to causes he believed in, especially to the church. My dad never extended himself beyond what he had, never expected anything back, and never spent recklessly. He was the essence of a cheerful giver and more than once he was described as ‘jolly’ by others. It was part of his nature to give, but my dad also saved fervently. Even though my father passed away over 14 years ago, I am still learning many lessons from his example of stewardship.
Stewardship is meant to be seen holistically. In our linear thinking world, it is easy to compartmentalize the concept of stewardship, relegating it to a certain time of the year when the church asks for money. But stewardship is a way of life and a way for us to give thanks to God for our blessings. God calls us to be good stewards of this whole earth at all times. While this can be quite daunting, it is an important concept for us to grasp. It is a call for us to share responsibility in caring for people and the world besides ourselves. ‘Everything is created out of relatedness and sustained through relationships’… shares Danah Zobar.
Stewardship, therefore, becomes our witness to the world. Charles Spencer says, “Cheerful and generous giving bears witness to the world that Christians through the church are continuing Christ’s ministries of hope, help, and healing. Our gifts bear witness that we are sufficiently confident in God’s promises for the future.”
Our vision for stewardship needs to be studied and examined to reflect scripture and our confessions of faith. Our Book of Confessions affirms that as ‘Christians we are to contribute by our prayers, gifts, and personal efforts to see that the world sees and knows the message of the Kingdom of God.’
In my small world of growing up, my dad was that example for me. I know that he was the example of God’s Kingdom to the people around him. If I can learn to give as cheerfully, generously and thoughtfully in this world as he could, I will feel that I have at least attempted to be a more serious steward in this world. I can only hope. I pray that you will take this journey of stewardship seriously, faithfully and prayerfully as we enter this next important year together. As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope that we will find ways to give back, thanking God for his faithful work amongst us.
Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 E. Colorado Blvd., in Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 793-2191 or visit http://www.ppc.net.