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About Stewardship

The word stewardship, that once held a noble place and rendered tremendous service in church, has become so encumbered and weighed down by too many years of fundraising gimmicks that it now means something completely different. The LCMS has rightly defined stewardship as the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. But so often in the local congregation stewardship has become a code word for raising money so that bills can be paid and debt retired. The definition and perception have become so disconnected that so few see stewardship as a baptismal vocation to be embraced and enhanced and have allowed it to become either a necessary evil or a downright dread. 

Ultimately, the solution to the difficulty of words meaning things comes down to the fact that stewardship is more than a decision or a definition. It is a matter of the Holy Spirit working on the heart and in the lives of the individual child of God. When stewardship is taught correctly it is about the whole life of the Christian. However, it is not about the Christian. It is about how a Christian loves the Lord with all his or her heart and all of his or her mind and all his or her strength and all his or her soul and loves his or her neighbor as himself or herself. It is about the teaching of the radical generosity of our Lord toward us in Jesus and then our Holy Spirit-inspired response of generosity toward others. 

This was captured most clearly by a young sixth grade girl named Kate. When asked in a grade-school chapel what generosity looked like, Kate answered, “Generosity is seen when we value other people more than ourselves.” Now that is a word that means something! When we bring the concept of generosity to the stewardship conversation, it takes the focus off us. The tithe or time or talent or treasure can still be about us and what we do. But when we use the concept of generosity to take the focus off the individual and place it on those the Lord has called to serve, we see new worlds of possibility open up!

reprinted from "Words Have Meaning" - the November 2014 StewardCast newsletter of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. 

Contact Information

Dan Galchutt, Assistant to the President for Missions & Stewardship

785-357-4441 ext. 222 
800-357-4421 ext. 222