Stewardship is the nuts and bolts of how we live our lives; stewardship is what we do with what we have. In my young adult years, I did not want to hear about stewardship – about how I spent my time and money. Guilt and shame were a part of my story – I didn’t feel like I made good decisions. I know that my experience is not unique. At some point in my life, there was a shift and I learned from some teachers and mentors about the call to live with my values aligned with my gifts and resources. I learned that giving was a response to my faith and that it could actually be a joy to give. (Trust me, I did not experience that at first.)
My husband and I decided as we got married that we would tithe and for several years, it was a commitment, but I didn’t feel like we gave “joyfully”. But we gave, consistently through the years. And then, I began to notice that something was different. First, I noticed that we had enough. We had enough, even though we tithed. Or maybe, we had enough, because we tithed. I’m not sure which it was. And then I noticed that I began to feel joy in that I could give, to the church, to other causes and organizations and that I was feeling a deeper satisfaction about that than I had expected.
That is just a small part of my own story of our “stewarding” of our resources. I believe that we as a Synod need to learn and talk about stewardship and what we do with what we have. As a Synod, I hope that the newly appointed and convened Stewardship Task Force can help to open up the conversation about stewardship. There are two aspects of the topic that are important: one is that people are hungry for ways to live lives of faith with their money and time. The other is that people want to respond to something that means something to them and to give to something that makes a difference.
In the next months, the Stewardship Task Force members will be sharing about giving and mission. This group will be meeting regularly to work to address stewardship from a variety of angles and will be sharing that with you all through the News of the Week. If you have questions or comments or would like to know more about how to engage in stewardship, please contact me.
May God bless you and your response to God’s grace and love,
Pastor Peggy Paugh Leuzinger
Director for Evangelical Mission
for the Montana Synod