October Pastoral letter from the Rector
My dear friends,
Christian Stewardship is the greatest religious principle before the world today. It is a revolutionary principle – a principle which would change our human relationships if it were universally grasped and applied. Dr. Lovejoy 1928.
The Parish profile from the plurality that I received when considering moving to Uckfield recognised quite clearly that who ever was appointed would need to deal with the issue of financial stewardship. Our responsibility under God to the mission and maintenance of his Church.
An early and basic definition of Christian stewardship is:
“Christian stewardship is a way of life in which we regard ourselves and all that we have as a trust from God to be used in his service for what he has done for us in Jesus Christ.” A more contemporary definition is
“Our goal is to teach a much more realistic and spirit led holistic stewardship – learning to give ourselves and our resources away as God’s prophetic Word beckons us to do with compassion and justice for all God’s people.”
Christian stewardship is, therefore, the Gospel in action and a good steward is one
who has responded to the good news and tries to share it. Stewardship is the
management of life, it is about the gifts and skills God has given us, and the financial resources entrusted to our care and how we use them for the building up of the Kingdom on earth.
Our Christian Stewardship is a response to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. It can never be separated from the Good News itself. It can be preached, and often is, as an extra discipline, an added load for already tired Christians to carry, but this is wrong. Our Christian Stewardship is a free response to the overwhelming gift of God in Christ, becoming a way of life that is spontaneous and joyful.’ The ability to give is a gift in itself. Paul writes to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians: 16.2) about the regularity and the originality of the giving of money. But when we talk about giving we are going far beyond the financial.
Why give, what is our motive?
• gratitude. Are you glad to be a Christian? What effect does our giving have?
• it is a tool for mission to others – the use of our time, our talent, and our money. Many people are alive today because money has been available through a charity.
How do we measure our giving?
• By our willingness to give. The right amount of giving - of time, energy or money - is decided by the right attitude. Let’s live dangerously for Christ’s sake.
What is the effect of such willingness?
• Joy. The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. How many of us smile when volunteering, how many of us laugh when involved in the work of God?
Let’s use our gifts from God for God, focus on the opportunities and not the problems and aim in life to make a difference. It’s not what you have but what you do with what you have that makes you happy or miserable.
Your friend and priest