On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 3: Stewardship Blessings

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 RSV)

As one of His last acts while on this earth, Jesus Christ assigned to human beings the task of extending the knowledge of God and God’s plan for all time. Some, like the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops of the Church, go forth to preach. Others, like the rest of us, He is calling to give of themselves in support this extending of the Kingdom. In order to allow this work to flow through these human channels, God has placed into our hands the means for this support.

After all, every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love. The poor are His. The cause of the Church is His. Gold and silver are His (and he could rain them from heaven if He so chose). But instead of this He has made man His steward. He has entrusted him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefitting others. God has thus made human beings the medium, the channel, though which to distribute His blessings on earth.

It was God Himself who planned stewardship as His means to allow human beings to become as He is: kind, loving, generous, unselfish in character, and finally a partner and partaker with Christ of the eternal and glorious life with Him forever.

Last week we recalled the centrality of the Cross in Orthodox life. Can we ever look at the Cross in which the Son of God gave His all for the salvation of all humanity – can we ever look at the Cross and say, “I have nothing to give”? The love of Christ draws us to the Cross in self-sacrifice and self-denial. The Cross is the constant reminder that we are to put off the “old man” and his characteristic selfishness. Rather, the Cross, as the center of our lives, is to bind us to the One who died there, and to one another in love and care.

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

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