Stewardship Emphasis

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Dwelling in the Lord

2017-2018 Stewardship Emphasis 

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2) 

Did you know there are currently more than 30 home improvement shows on television? In fact, there is an entire network dedicated to the subject. So many programs on the same topic clearly means that do it yourself is big business these days. But why are these shows so popular? There has to be something in them that appeals to more than our sense of entertainment. Perhaps it’s because they show us what our homes could be if we had the resources. Many of us look at our houses and dream about what it would be like to have some of the amenities we see on these programs. Maybe it’s the education factor. We can learn a thing or two about fixing things and sprucing up our yards or kitchens to look like a magazine layout. But more than those things, perhaps the attraction to home improvement shows is the process of transformation. We can all appreciate the joy in taking a beat up, run down, fixer upper, and turning it into a charming abode. It is like an architectural Cinderella story.

If we are willing to take a leap from thinking about our homes to thinking about our lives, we can make the comparison to what it is like to be transformed from downtrodden sinners to those who are renewed and alive in Christ. Like a dilapidated house in need of a new foundation, we understand ourselves to be in need of a Savior who can free us from sin and death and renovate us into his spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:5) From the beginning of time, the Lord who created everything that exists has provided his people with a place to call home. Whether it was in the garden, tabernacle, and temple or now, within our very hearts, God has come to dwell with us and among us.

As God’s stewards, we know that we have been called to be caretakers of his natural creation and all that God has entrusted to us. This includes the spiritual dwelling places in which we gather, those holy places we regard as our church homes. We recognize that an important and practical sense in which we practice Christian stewardship is in terms of physical things related to our congregations the property, grounds, and utilities the bricks and mortar of our church facilities. We also express our stewardship in financial matters, as we use good judgment in spending and seek to maintain a balanced budget over the course of the year. To carry out this stewardship, we may employ things like giving plans, pledge cards, and offering envelopes as helpful tools to remind us of all that God has given us.

But in the midst of all these practical concerns and business matters it is important that we do not lose sight of how God has formed us into a spiritual household as well. As his stewards, each of us has a relationship with Christ that needs to be tended to, like any other relationship we are a part of. And just as it is true in material things, it is also true in relational things: we can only give back to God what he has first given us. Things like kindness, love, and faith may not be tangible objects, but they, too, are resources with which we have been entrusted by God. The Lord has given us these gifts to share with others that we might all dwell with him as part of one spiritual household.

So how do we begin to think about God as our dwelling place? How do we embrace the fact that Christ has brought us together and to dwell together? It begins by recognizing that all we have comes from our gracious Lord, who is the source of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17), and one of the greatest gifts we have is in each other. It is the Lord himself who is our true dwelling, the one in whom we experience comfort, peace, and security of home. If, indeed, we remember that the Lord is our home and dwelling place for all generations, perhaps we would see the pure joy in being stewards of that home.

Unlike what we see portrayed in the fixer-uppers on TV, we Christians have nothing to improve when God is our abode. Instead of the house being transformed, it is we, the house’s inhabitants, who are transformed. Through prayer, worship, and time spent in his Word, God makes us into the people that he would have us be. This is why we are able to give him thanks and praise, by sharing his gifts with all the world! 

Rev. Amy C. Little

Editor, Sola Publishing

© 2017 Sola Publishing ( Permission is granted to duplicate for local congregational use.