By The Rev. Gary W. Lefever
From “The View,” Newsletter of Calvary UM Church
Rev. Gary W. Lefever, composed this message for Calvary UMC’s newsletter “The View” (January 2015 issue) as the church’s new pastor. It is adapted and reprinted here with his permission. Faithful Stewards of Time, Treasure and the Earth was the theme of the 2015 Eastern PA Annual Conference session.
We are sent to proclaim the Gospel and to be good and faithful stewards of Jesus Christ. It is a responsibility God has given all of us as we give our lives to Christ who was born to us. As we live as “Faithful Stewards,” we learn to “Climb Higher” knowing the Lord is with us. It is about having a clear and compelling vision, which we seek to follow as the crucial first step. A faithful vision is more than a desire “to keep the bills paid and the doors open.” People need to see a vision with a goal to action that strives to make a difference, to transform lives through knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, to make the world a better place.
Stewardship with a clear vision motivates us to be part of God’s work in the world as Jesus Christ’s disciples. Disciples with a stewardship heart means we follow Jesus out in the world to give ourselves generously to ministry. Stewardship is recognizing that all we have been given is a gift from God to manage and experience God’s work through our lives. It includes time in prayer to listen for God’s voice, time in God’s Word for discernment, using our talents and passions for others in need, and seeking opportunities to live devoted, faithful lives in the world.
Stewardship is important when the giving of ourselves through prayer in the Word, our presence, gifts, service, and witness has an impact of transformed lives for Jesus Christ. People need to see the POWER of God supply their needs through faithful outreach as we climb new heights for God. The Methodist approach to Stewardship could be summarized by John Wesley. He is quoted as saying, “Earn All We Can…Save All We Can…so we can Give All We Can. “What does this look like?” people may ask. They may say, “Can my giving make a difference?” “Yes it does.“
Wesley modeled modest living through sacrificial giving. He started small group ministries where people were accountable to one another and involved in loving outreach. The focus of God’s people is to see the POWER of God work through the hands and feet of the body of Christ to extend God’s love to all those within reach.
Ann Landers had an interesting letter in one of her columns. It came from a girl who wrote about her uncle who passed away and her aunt. She wrote, “My uncle was the tightest man I’ve ever known. All his life, every time he got paid he took $20 out of his paycheck and put it under his mattress. Then he got sick and was about to die. As he was dying, he said to his wife, “I want you to promise me one thing.” “Promise what?” she asked. “I want you to promise me that when I’m dead you’ll take my money from under my mattress and put it in my casket, so that I can take it all with me.” She then wrote that he died and she kept her promise. She took all the money the day he died and went to the bank and deposited it, wrote out a check in his name and put it in his casket. (Collected by Brian Kluth, National-International Generosity Speaker & Author)
No, we do not take our resources with us, and it is my prayer that God sends (us) here to be generous offerings of God to you. We look forward to joining with you to be a part of Calvary’s generous giving hearts to the needs of others to know Christ and to make Him known. We dedicate our resources to be used by God, because what we have been given is not ours to keep. Faithful stewardship is surrender to God’s hands to further God’s Kingdom, which is a visible sign of our trust in the One and only God who gives us so much to live for, Eternity!
Calvary United Methodist Church 16 Park Avenue Ambler, PA 19002 215-646-8145
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