Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Vision (8/11/11): Some Practical Thoughts on Stewardship

Photo: Friends enjoying the 2011 CRBC Vacation Bible School.

Sunday before last I shared a few practical thoughts on stewardship during our offering time at CRBC. Here’s a summary of what I shared (with a few things added):

It is summertime, and August is coming up, which means time for vacations. Let’s be clear that we do not begrudge anyone the opportunity of taking a vacation. We all need the rest, relaxation, re-creation, and family bonding that can take place on vacations. In fact, most of you know that my family has also taken a vacation. We certainly do not expect anyone to be present here 52 out of 52 Sundays per year.Let me address in this season, however, two very practical aspects of stewardship: the stewardship of our time and the stewardship of our money.

First, with regard to our time, please be aware that with several of our families gone on vacation nearly every Lord’s Day in August, it is important that the rest of us who are in town be present for our Lord’s Day services (morning worship, lunch, afternoon worship), unless providentially hindered. We need to be here to worship the Lord and to present a public witness for Christ on behalf of our church. As members we obviously need to be present in the afternoon service to share in the Lord’s Supper together. This has typically not been a problem for our body since our members know and fulfill their commitment to be present on the Lord’s Day. In fact, we most often have 90-100% of our members present on the Lord’s Day, and we often have as many folk attend our afternoon service as our morning service. We come together not because it is a burden but because it is a joy and a privilege to worship our Lord together.

Second, with regard to our money it is important that we plan to give consistently and intentionally. In 1 Corinthians 16:2 Paul wrote to the church at Corinth with this instruction: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” This verse tells us that the early church gathered on the Lord’s Day and that they collected offerings. The apostle knew that if the saints gave consistently on the Lord’s Day there would be no need for special collections (“gatherings”) to support the ministry when he came. A few years back my family used to give our offering on a monthly basis. After contemplating this verse, however, we started giving our offering on a weekly basis (Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day). I am not suggesting that this is the pattern everyone must follow. Your family has to make your own decision on this. For us, however, it has helped our observance of the Lord’s Day to make an intentional weekly offering. Of course, if you miss a week in attendance, you should make up for the offering you missed at the next available opportunity. You should not lessen or neglect your giving just because you miss being physically present.

This summer, as throughout the year, let’s be good stewards of both our time and money, to the glory of God.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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