Stewardship at St. Paul’s

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At St. Paul’s we are simply “Too Blest to Rest!”

So many people are super involved, there is so much to do and we have so much fun doing things together supporting our church and both local and global neighbors! The Stewardship Team is busy talking with members who are involved in the life and work of St. Paul’s. We want to know why it is they do what they do. So we ask why they share their time, energy, skills and finances with St. Paul's and how it has changed them.

This week we spoke to a lovely lady who is the Altar Flower Coordinator for Traditional Worship and participates with the Altar Guild and Quilting Group.

She responded, "Because I like it! I'm a seamstress and I like the companionship. I wanted to meet other people." She says she feels more connected to the community of the church when she is involved and considers it a way to give back.

So ... What Is Stewardship Anyway?

Christian Stewardship, starts with recognizing God’s abundant and gracious blessings to and for us everyday of our lives. Everything we have, both individually and as a community, even our very lives, are gifts given to us from God. In response to God’s gracious goodness, we share ourselves and our God given gifts, talents, skills and finances with others, giving glory to God, and pouring blessings on all whom we touch, even ourselves! It is a relational thing.

The Rev. Dr. John R. Sabatelli explains this need to give this way:

“In the Holy Land there are two significant bodies of water. Both are fed by the Jordan River. In one, fish live, play, and breed. In the other there are no fish, no sounds of birds, no grass that grows. The difference is not in the Jordan, but in the Sea of Galilee: every drop taken in goes out. It gives and therefore lives. The other sea receives but gives nothing. It is the Dead Sea.

So it is with people. Those who extend themselves and freely give to others are, by and large, healthier and happier than those who do not. We are called to be rivers not reservoirs. The same is true of congregations. Healthier ones look beyond their membership to see what they can give to the world. Dying ones are content to care for their buildings and current members. They are more museums than centers for mission.

Are you a river or a reservoir? Are you marking time until death, or actively engaged in the world for the sake of others? It’s safe to say Jesus was a river, and Judas was a reservoir. Christians obviously are called to be like Jesus not Judas.”

Giving as an Act of Worship

While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.  For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”        [Mark 14:3-9]

 

A woman comes to Simon’s house with an expensive jar of ointment – the ointment itself was worth a whole day’s wages, who knows the cost of the alabaster jar. She breaks open the jar and pours the ointment on Jesus’ head. Some scold her for being wasteful but Jesus defends her. He sees her actions as a loving gift of worship. We do not know why she is so grateful and acts so lovingly to Jesus but we know her response is one of outrageous generosity.

 

Most of us know what it is like to love someone so much – child, parent, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, boyfriend, girlfriend – that we want to give them things and do for them, not because we are obligated to give but because want to give. We give out of love and joy.

 

Like this woman, when we respond to God’s love and generosity to us by gladly giving from ourselves (time, energy, skill, money, resources) in care for the church, our neighbors, and God’s creation, the giving is an act of worshipping God.

Ways to Bless St. Paul’s Work in Blessing Others

Jesus teaches us that, "Where your treasure is, your heart will also be." [Matthew 6:21]St. Paul’s ministries have been made possible by the gracious and generous support of so many. We are blessed by the many gifts given to us and strive to be good stewards of those blessings. Caring for our world and our church requires many hands, many hearts, and money.

USE YOUR PASSIONS AND SKILLS

We all have things we are passionate about, skills we have sharpened over the years, things we’d like to learn and things we simply enjoy doing. God has blessed us abundantly and it is exciting to share our skills and talents with others - it feels good to give back. Take time to take stock of what you like to do and how you might share yourself - join in the fun! Contact the church office staff to find out how you can plug into the St. Paul’s community.

OFFERING ENVELOPES FOR REGULAR FINANCIAL GIVING

For those who prefer to give regular weekly, bi-weekly or monthly offering with cash or check, offering envelopes help the office maintain more accurate records for your contribution statements. Did you receive a box of offering envelopes for 2014? Do you want envelopes but do not currently have them?  For assistance contact Parish Administrator, Jim Karcher at 410-252-3768 or office@stpaulslutherville.org.

SIMPLY GIVING (Automated Financial Giving)

To participate in this program, please contact Marty Reisinger, 410-828-1470 or mar@rrginc.com.

MEMORIALS AND SPECIAL GIFTS

Want to give a gift to someone who has everything? What about giving a gift to a St. Paul’s ministry in honor of their special event (birthday, anniversary, baptism, wedding...). Send a check, a fund designation for the honorarium, person(s) to be honored and acknowledgement information, along with a check to: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1609 Kurtz Avenue, Lutherville MD 21093.

A memorial to St. Paul’s is a wonderful way to mark the life of a special person in your life who has since died. Send a check, a fund designation for the memorial, person(s) to be remembered and acknowledgement information along with a check to: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1609 Kurtz Avenue, Lutherville MD 21093.

Alternative Giving Opportunities:

[These are suggestions only. Please consult a financial or legal adviser for estate planning.]

PLANNED GIFTS & BEQUESTS (Wills and Trusts)

A bequest provision in your will or trust will allow you to make a significant gift to ministry without reducing your current income. You can specify a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the estate’s residual value to: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1609 Kurtz Avenue, Lutherville MD 21093. You may designate individual funds.

LIFE INSURANCE

By changing the beneficiary of your policy, you can make a gift to ministry. Or, you can transfer the ownership of a cash value life insurance policy.

QUALIFIED RETIREMENT PLANS (IRA, Keogh, 401K, 403B)

Your qualified retirement plan may also provide a significant gift to ministry.