On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 4: Our Bountiful Benefactor

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:6 RSV)

The power and constancy of God is shown forth in the beating of the heart, in the actions of the lungs and in the network of vessels, large and small, that circulate life-giving blood throughout the body. We are indebted to God for every moment of existence, and for all the comforts of life. The powers and abilities of the human being that elevate him above “lower” creation are all gifts of the Creator.

He loads us with His benefits: the food we eat; the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the air we breathe. God is a bountiful Benefactor and Preserver. All around us we see the glories of God as Creator: the brilliant sun and the gentle moon; the showers that refresh the land and cause vegetation to flourish; the lofty trees; the shrubs and plants, the waving grain, the blue sky, the green earth, the changes of day and night, the renewing seasons, all speak to us of God’s creative love.

As the Creator constantly gives to us, so we constantly give in return. When the heavenly Benefactor stops giving to us, only then may we be excused; for then we shall have nothing to give back. God has never left us without evidence of His love. We are sustained at every moment by God’s care, and upheld by His power.

Herein do we find the basis for stewardship in our Orthodox life. God’s goodness and mercy follow us every step of the way. Not until we wish God our Father to stop giving His gifts to us should we say, “Is there no end to giving?” Not only should we faithfully give to God our regular tithes of money (the Biblical standard of 10% of all our income – which is His own anyway!) but we should bring even more as a special tribute of gratitude as we contemplate all of His gracious bounty bestowed on us.

Be sure. The Lord does not need our offerings. We cannot enrich Him by our gifts. Yet God permits us to show our appreciation of His mercies by self-sacrificing efforts to extend the same to others. This is the only way in which it is possible to show our gratitude and love to God. He has provided no other way.

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

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