Time, Treasure, Talents
Please read Fr. John's letter on Stewardship at St. John's
Church of St. John of Damascus
Guide to Stewardship
"Every good and perfect gift is from above…"
What is your gift back to God?
The Biblical Basis of Giving
1. Everything belongs to God.
Because God created all things, He automatically owns all things: "The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. (Ps. 24:1)
God owns it all. The cattle on a thousand hills (see Ps. 50:10) and even the hills themselves (see Ps. 50:12). But more importantly, He owns you and me: "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20).
He is thus the true owner of everything we have. Not just our bodies and spirits, but our houses and cars, our pots and pans, our furniture and fixtures, our televisions and stereos, our children and pets, and even our bank accounts and IRAs. Nothing is exempt. God owns it all. But if everything belongs to God, then where does that leave us? Isn't there anything that we can call our own?
2. We are God's Stewards.
God has placed each of us over some of His possessions. Our role is not that of an owner but that of a steward. Webster's New World Dictionary defines the term steward like this: "One who acts as a supervisor or administrator, as of finances and property, for another or others." God has made some of us stewards over a very large estate. He has made others of us stewards over a small estate. But make no mistake about it, all of us are stewards. This brings us to the third principle.
3. We are held accountable for how we use the resources God gives us.
In the Parable of the Talents (see Matt. 25:14-30), our Lord makes it clear that He regards as "faithful" those who wisely use the resources He gives them. Conversely, he regards as "unfaithful" those who squander their opportunities and use His resources foolishly. The point of the parable is that for all of us there is an ultimate accountability in the exercise of our stewardship. We are not free to spend our money as we please. Nor are we free to invest our money as we please. Everything must be done to the glory of God and with the view to the reality that we will one day – at the dread judgment seat of Christ – give an account of our stewardship. (Dn Michael Hyatt, Again Magazine, vol II, no 3, Fall 1988)
"No one shall appear before the Lord empty-handed, but each of you with as much as he can give, in proportion to the blessings which the Lord, God has bestowed on you." (Deut. 16:10, 16-17)
There are many elements to Stewardship which will be presented in weekly inserts in the bulletin. In terms of individuals' donations to the Church, the Old Testament laid down the standard of the tithe, or 10% of one's income. This provides us with the principle that giving should be in proportion with our income, which is unlike a dues system.
Financial stewardship is returning to God a fair proportion of the resources He has given to us. Stewards determine what percentage of their income will be committed to Christ and the Church for 2007. If you cannot give 10 percent, can you give 1 percent? If you already give 1 percent, please consider giving 2 or 3 percent or more. The more we are given, the more is expected of us. "Everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required." (Lk. 12:48)
How Much Should I Give?
Please consider the following questions and the chart below when prayerfully determining your pledge for next year.
- Do I give God the leftovers or do I give God the first fruits?
- Do I give what I think I can afford or do I give in faith, depending upon God to supply?
- Do I give what is acceptable and customary or do I give in love and gratitude for all that God has allowed me to harvest?
|$10,000||$ 100||$ 200||$ 500||$ 1000|
|$20,000||$ 200||$ 400||$ 1000||$ 2000|
|$30,000||$ 300||$ 600||$ 1500||$ 3000|
|$45,000||$ 450||$ 900||$ 2250||$ 4500|
|$60,000||$ 600||$ 1200||$ 3000||$ 6000|
|$75,000||$ 750||$ 1500||$ 3750||$ 7500|
|$90,000||$ 900||$ 1800||$ 4500||$ 9000|
|$105,000||$ 1050||$ 2100||$ 5250||$ 10,500|
|$120,000||$ 1200||$ 2400||$ 6000||$ 12,000|
|$135,000||$ 1350||$ 2700||$ 6750||$ 13,500|
|$150,000||$ 1500||$ 3000||$ 7500||$ 15,000|
|$165,000||$ 1650||$ 3300||$ 8250||$ 16,500|
|$180,000||$ 1800||$ 3600||$ 9000||$ 18,000|
|$200,000||$ 2000||$ 4000||$ 10,000||$ 20,000|