On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 2: Co-Workers With God
“Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10 RSV)
Out of His great loving kindness for humanity, our Lord and God, following the Fall of humankind, did not just remove us from the Garden and let us walk about in life on our own. Rather, God’s plan was to enlist us as His co-workers. God could have reached His object of returning sinners to the state in which they were created without our human help. Rather, He gave to each of us a part in that great work.
God has given to each human being the means to become the persons we were created to be. He constantly gives us the opportunities, for example, of serving the poor and needy or of speaking out to advance the Kingdom of God in this world. God is regularly and constantly giving us opportunities to be those people who were created in His image. He does so by revealing to us the lovingkindness of His heart in all that He does. And the height of that revelation? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 RSV) The gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart. The Father will spare nothing, however dear to Him, in order to complete the work He has begun in humankind.
That humanity might be spared from eternal separation from the God who loves that humanity, He gave all that He had. Then He gave Himself. The Cross of Christ is the center of our Orthodox faith. The Cross of Christ appeals to our own stewardship. The principle there is to give, give, and when we have given what we think is all and enough – we give some more.
In this world the principle is get, get, get, and when we have gotten what we think is all and enough, we want more. In that the world seeks to find happiness. The Cross sends out a clear message. It rebukes selfishness. It encourages stewardship. God is calling people, through the Holy Cross, away from their limited view of life in this world as a life of getting. It is a calling to a higher way of life, the way that God Himself has shown in giving His only-begotten Son.
This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.