Today is stewardship Sunday at St. George. As you might remember when we first arrived I promised you that I would only preach about financial giving when the gospel or epistle reading focus on that subject or when there was a special need. Today falls under the category of special need because it is the day when we as a community, come together and offer up a pledge of our resources for the benefit of this church and her ministries.
This Sunday is also special for another reason. It marks the 2nd anniversary of this community moving to New Hartford. Over two years ago we asked our members to raise their pledges to meet the needs of this move, and they responded. We are thankful for all of those who have helped and supported us. God sees your labor of love and God rewards with blessings now and in the heavenly kingdom.
There is so much that we could say about stewardship and giving. We are reminded that the word stewardship is very important. It means that you are not an owner of your goods no matter how much you may think otherwise. There is a wonderful scene in the final Lord of the Rings movie which is called “The Return of the King.” In this scene there is a man who is tasked with watching over the affairs of the great city. He is not of royal blood, he is not a king. At one point in time he becomes very power hungry and he is forcefully reminded by the wizard Gandalf, that he must step aside because he is only a steward. It is the same with each of us. Our life is a life of stewardship since we serve the King of kings and Lord of lords. Every action in our life either proves our allegiance to the King or proves our rebellion and betrayal of the King.
Instead of my own words and opinions about giving I would like to encourage you to hear the promises of the Holy Scriptures for those who remember their commitments towards God.
And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house; and of that thou dost give me I will surely give a tenth to Thee. [Genesis 28:22]
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord. [Leviticus 27:30]
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the first fruits of all your increase…So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
Do not overwork to be rich: because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven. [Proverbs 23:4,5]
A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. [Proverbs 28:20]
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. [Malachi 3:10]
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [Matthew 6:21]
“Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold all their possessions and goods, and divided them all, as anyone had need.” [Acts of the Apostles 2:44-45]
For God loves a cheerful giver. [2 Corinthians 9:7]
You and I will one day stand before the throne of the King and He will ask us what we have done with His resources, the income that was put in our hands. My hope is that we will each be able to stand before God with a good conscience and a clean and open heart. My hope and prayer is that you will do your part to help this community, this family to grow, to spread the Holy Apostolic faith and to glorify the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
And Glory be to God forever AMEN!
December 9, 2012