Greetings to you! Today is earmarked as Stewardship Sunday throughout the Diocese of Delhi. The dictionary defines Stewardship as the ‘job of taking care of something or overseeing something’.
Stewardship in the Bible begins right at the beginning in the Book of Genesis where God made Adam and Eve in his own image and gave them the task of taking care of creation.
To look after the earth and its resources is part of the responsibility of every human being.
Stewardship begins and ends with the understanding that God is the owner of all things and therefore we as his stewards have been entrusted with the job of taking care of creation. Stewardship also means giving to God what is rightfully due to him, thereby making sure that we acknowledge that everything comes from him.
In the OT reading for this morning we see Abraham giving a tithe of 10% of all that he had got from defeating the kings to Melchizedek king of Salem and the priest of the God Most High. Giving of a 10% of our income as tithes is something we must do as an act of gratitude for all that God has done for us.
In the Old Testament times a tithe was a 10 percent of everything they received from God. The people of Israel had failed to do this. The tithe was a symbol of gratitude thanking God for all that he had blessed them with, and bringing him an offering of 10 percent was to indicate that. We too are encouraged to give at least 10 percent of our income to the church in order that the Lord’s work may be carried out.
When we give generously of our money then God will also abundantly bless us. God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the store house that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this’, says the Lord Almighty and ‘see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it’.
Tithes rightfully belongs to God. Tithing needs to come out of gratitude for what God has done on the cross. There is nothing we can give in return for that great sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.
In the Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus tells them a parable about a dishonest steward who showed common sense, foresight and insight into his Master’s character. The dishonest steward discovers that his Master expects obedience and judges those who fail him.
He also discovers the extraordinary mercy of his Master. He decides to risk everything on the unqualified mercy of his Master. He knows that if he fails, he goes to jail; if he succeeds, he is saved. So, he calls all the debtors and writes of their debts some 50% and others 20% saying that the Master had forgiven them. Even though the Master knew that the accounts were fudged he had no option to go back on what the shrewd steward had done because the people of the city were praising the King for being so generous and merciful.
Jesus approves of a dishonest steward’s shrewd plans to save his skin, and recommends that cleverness to his disciples. The point made is that even a dishonest steward makes clever plans for the future with whatever resources he has in hand.
However, we who have been given many resources do not make any plans for eternal life and waste away our resources or we hoard them to such an extent that others go empty away. As God’s stewards we are to make good use of all the resources that God has given us.
God calls us this morning to share our resources with others. In the reading from Acts we see that the early church pooled in their resources to help the poor and the needy.
Everybody in the community of faith had enough to go around. We are called to give generously to God and his work remembering that God has freely given us his Son Jesus to die for us on the cross. Our giving must always be in gratitude for the cross.
May we freely give of all that God has given us so that we may be a blessing to others in their time of need.