“In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Dear friend of Christ,
The year of 2020 has certainly been one we will not forget. It has tested us in so many ways. Many of us have lost friends or family to the pandemic. Our financial situations have changed. Many have lost income or even their job. Yet God has seen us through. We always have much for which to be thankful. As we celebrate our national day of Thanksgiving at the end of this month, we will be counting all our blessings. Let’s begin to do so now, and to put at the top of the list God’s love and forgiveness we have in Christ. He always keeps His promises, including His promise of eternal life: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Let us cling to this promise and give thanks to God.
In this season of thanksgiving, it is also time once again for our annual stewardship emphasis. Our theme this year is “In Everything Give Thanks,” reminding us that it is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus to continue to thank Him, even in a challenging year like 2020. Please take some time to pray, and determine in your heart how, with gratitude, you will respond to God’s good gifts. The following ideas are adapted from an LCMS publication on New Testament stewardship.
- Receive God’s gifts. Are we faithfully attending worship, whether it is online, from your car or in person? Are we spending time in God’s Word and Bible study? Are we confessing our sins and receiving His forgiveness? God does not want (or need) your money–He wants you, all of you.
- Pray. Boldly approach God’s throne of grace and ask for His strength to follow Him faithfully.
- Consider what the Church does. The Church is called to spread the Good News of the Gospel. You are part of God’s Church on earth and specifically at St. Michael, and so your mission is to tell the world that Jesus laid down His life and took it up again for all people. The Church cannot complete its mission unless all members of the Church faithfully support the mission that God has given us.
- Examine yourself. Consider the commands of God from the New Testament about supporting the work of the Church and examine your own giving. Are you: a) giving of your first fruits; b) giving voluntarily and cheerfully; c) giving proportionally with an awareness of the percentage of your income your gift is; d) relying on God’s promise to provide for you? If not, then repent and trust in God’s provision.
- Decide on your proportion. Consider what percentage of your income you can give faithfully and cheerfully. The biblical pattern from the Old Testament is 10%. In the New Testament, we are free to give what we decide in our heart without compulsion (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). For some, this may be more than 10%, for others it may be less, but we should all give proportionately (see Luke 21:1-4).
As part of our Stewardship Emphasis, we will be distributing a small devotional called Simple Gifts, prepared by LCMS. Please take the time to spend time with this devotional, once you have completed St. Michael’s Anniversary devotional.
You can download the St. Michael’s Commitment Form and the Volunteer Ministry Survey here. The Lord wants us to share all His gifts cheerfully. Every good thing we have comes from God: our time, our energy, our gifts, our talents, our homes, our cars, our families–all that we have–was given to us by our Lord and Savior.
Director of the Board of Stewardship
Lord Jesus Christ, as a perfect steward of God’s Word and will, You have opened the door to a restoration of our relationship with the Father. This relationship of stewardship is the one for which we have been created. Lord, help us to become mighty stewards, and grant us Your grace in Holy Baptism to live like redeemed stewards, free from fear and full of generous life for the sake of the Gospel. Amen. (Adapted from “Simple Gifts Devotional”)