Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of God’s family — the church — in managing life’s resources for His purposes.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
LCMS Stewardship Ministry
Newsletter article – October 2021
Why do we give? Is it simply because God commands us to? Or is there more to it? To be sure, the Word and instruction of God in the Bible says we should give, and this is sufficient to encourage us to give (Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 6:6).
But there’s more to it than just obligation. We’re not just trying to fulfill a work of the law. We are bearing fruits of the Spirit given to us by our Father in heaven through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, we’re not just doing what our Father said, we’re also doing what He did.
Children emulate their parents. When they grow up, they often carry many of the same mannerisms and characteristics as their parents. But there is more to it than that. Children copy their parents even on a more mundane level. They watch how their parents cross their legs, how they fold their hands, how they stand and sit and walk, and how they do and say most everything. Then children try to copy it.
This can be quite humorous when caught in the act. They do this even when parents don’t want them to. Everyone has been in the uncomfortable – and embarrassing situation – where a child does or says something one of their parents have done or said that is less than polite. Sitcoms thrive on these. It only works because of the truth that children emulate their parents, and they do it because they want to be like them.
We are the children of God – by grace through faith. In Holy Baptism, God the Father declares of us what He declared of Jesus at His Baptism in the Jordan, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God the Father claims us as His own. He takes away all our sins. In exchange, He gives us His righteousness, His purity, His holiness, and His Spirit – by which we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
We are born again – born from above, born of water and the Spirit – to a new life in Christ as His children. We are sons of God in Christ through Baptism. Since we are sons, we are heirs who share in the glory of the Son of God. The inheritance is ours because of the Father’s grace, mercy, and generosity in sending His Son in time to save us for all eternity.
This is why we give generously of our income to the work of the church. We want to be like our heavenly Father. We want to emulate His generosity by being generous ourselves. We give to the work of the church because we have witnessed the generous giving of our Father in heaven.
More than that, we are recipients of it. It is because we have received our Father’s gifts that we desire to give ourselves. His gifts are not just spiritual. They are temporal and earthly as well. As Luther’s Small Catechism teaches in the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer:
Give us this day our daily bread.
What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
In other words, He gives us everything that we need for the care of both body and soul. His generosity knows no bounds.
Therefore, we sit down at the beginning of the year, the beginning of the month, or the beginning of the week and set aside a generous portion of God’s daily bread for His work in the church. This is not done because He has commanded us so to do but rather because we, as His children by grace, want to emulate His generosity in our own lives. He is our Father; we are His children. And children want to be like their parents.
“Simple Gifts” is a 22-part series of devotions
on stewardship. Topics include “Stewards of
the gift of peace“ and “Gifts for the generations
Click below to download the devotions