On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 129: Partnering with God (1/15/17)

Stewardship: A Way of Life

Part 129: Partnering with God

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 RSV)

Being a human is certainly a challenge. Being a Christian is yet even more daunting. But being an Orthodox Christian is the ultimate in demanding. God’s work is to be accomplished among us both individually and as a group, the Church. Each of us seeks to return to the state in which human beings were created. We have been endowed with the God-like image of Christ and have full potential to make that return. As well, our work is not limited to what we try to do for ourselves, but what we can accomplish as partners with God for all of His creation.

Speaking in classical stewardship terms, for example, God has not only required of us to give a portion of what we consider ours (the tithe?), He requires of us that all we have be used to His glory. “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:15 RSV). Consider the implications: there must be no waste of His goods on unnecessary luxuries; there is to be no waste of His goods on pride (like in dress, or the latest electronics, or the best luxury automobile). After all, it is God’s property that we are handling. The squandering of what is His deprives those who are in need of simple necessities like basic clothing, food and shelter.

St. Paul said it simply and clearly: “…For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building” (1 Corinthians 3:9 RSV). The Kingdom of God is like a large corporation that is full of goods and services of which human beings throughout the world are in need. The Owner and CEO of this corporation is God Himself. The Church is like the managers that partner with the Owner to care for all of those goods and services, and to distribute these goods and services as needed in the world. Each one of us, then, is a managing partner with God. As we rightfully and carefully manage the goods that the Owner wants distributed where needed, we ourselves work our way up closer and closer to what God wants us to be.

This illustration is to show what each of us who make up the Church are to be and to do. We are to be good, responsible partners with God for not only our own well-being (and salvation) but also for the well-being (and salvation) of the world. Nothing that we manage is our own. But as God’s partners and managers, we take what is already owned by God and we use it for the growth of the Kingdom. As we do so, we also grow into the kind of persons God wants us to be.

This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

Mark Your Calendar Now for the 2nd annual Stewardship Retreat will be held September 22-24, 2017.

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