deacon Christine Barker-Odom
How Do I Define Christian Stewardship?
Good morning. As I was preparing for this Prove the Tithe Sunday, I pondered on “How Do I Define Christian Stewardship?” For me Christian stewardship is my response to my gratitude to God for what He has done for me in spite of my shortcomings. For me stewardship is not haphazard. It is an intentional, conscientious decision to commit to the fundamentals of being a Christian through prayer, sharing my skills and talents, and giving financially to the church.
Now don’t get me wrong, I did not come to this place in my life overnight and it has not always been easy for me. Though I have been a single mom, who raised two sons and two nephews with the help of my aunt, it really is not about all that. It is about showing an attitude of gratitude for God’s grace and mercy. In that vein, I cannot begin to count how God has blessed me and my family over the years.
This year marks the 40th year of my career. While I have worked for several companies, I have not had a single day of unemployment. And God willing, I will be retiring later this year. I have a loving family, which includes a wonderful husband and two beautiful grandchildren. I am in reasonable good health – spiritually, physically, financially, and mentally – though some who know me best question that mental part. God has never wavered with His faithfulness to me - the least I can do is be faithful with my time, talents, and treasure.
Now, it is not my place to try to convince you how to use your time, talent, and treasure. That is between you and God. However, with that said, genuine love for God should be expressed through service to others because a heart that truly loves God will be filled with compassion for others which includes effective use of your time, talent, and treasure. So I encourage you to prayerfully seek guidance from God in your journey to embrace a stewardship lifestyle. Completing the tithing pledge card is an excellent start. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 speaks to the wealth or “abundance” of our lives as being a gift, not just a given. That is, no more than with life itself is what we have something we can earn or deserve. It is not about entitlement and I submit to you that whatever we have is a blessing that is meant to be shared with others. So I can only stand here and tell you that I am fully committed to do what I can to further the kingdom of God. And stewardship is how I do it.