On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 1: Introduction
In the realm of Orthodox Christian life and service, the question of stewardship occupies a large and vital place. Every Orthodox believer ought to be deeply and continuously concerned. Our recognition of the sovereignty of God, of His ownership of all things, and of the bestowing of his lovingkindness on us all, are all included in a proper understanding of the principles of Christian Stewardship.
As our own personal and Church-wide understanding and use of these principles grow and expand, we are led into a fuller insight into the ways that God’s love and grace operate in our lives.
Now while the principles of stewardship seem to concern material things of this life, those principles are, above all, of such a character as to encompass all of the Orthodox life. After all, we can in no way, as Orthodox Christians, separate the “material” from the “spiritual,” the “worldly” from the “heavenly.” They are intertwined like body and soul: what affects one affects both.
When our Lord requires certain things of us, He does so that He may do certain things for us. He does not just demand that we serve Him or recognize Him by simply returning to Him that which is already His. But God’s divine plan is for us to work with Him, side-by-side. And when we do so, there flow blessings back to those who serve Him and recognize His complete rule over all of life. Our failure to co-operate with the Sovereign Lord will leave us without the chance for His blessings. If we do not carry out His plans as He has revealed them to us through His Holy Orthodox Church, we will deprive ourselves of the blessings that we need the most.
We have said before that stewardship is not just a good idea, it is, in fact, our entire life as Orthodox Christians. Good stewardship does not just benefit us personally, but it is of huge benefit to the Church at large. Stewardship gives the possibility of eternal life to thousands of Christians who are just on the edge of true Christianity. It can give hope to many more thousands who mourn over the darkness of this world that is reflected in their own lives. Stewardship can transform them from selfish, covetous worshipers of “mammon” to faithful co-workers with Christ in the salvation of the world.
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.
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