By Ken Andrews
Stewardship. What is the first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions stewardship? I used to think that stewardship was the campaign each year to pledge financial support for the Church, but I have come to realize that it is so much more than that. Stewardship should happen 365 days a year, not just a few weeks a year and should be more than the giving of financial support to the church. Stewardship is also the giving of time and talents, in other words the giving of ourselves, in spreading the love of God and Christ’s teachings.
The definition given in the dictionary for stewardship is, “the conducting, supervising of, managing of something, especially the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” Are we not entrusted with the care and management of God’s creation?
What has changed my thinking about stewardship has been seeing how the people of Grace respond to God’s love. Since coming to Grace I have been amazed at how many ways the people of Grace show their love of God and His creations. This list of the ministries of Grace and the number of people involved goes on and on. There are ministries that care for the environment, for the church building and services held there. There are ministries that feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and heal the sick. One of the ministries I have been personally involved with was the building of a home for a friend. Several churches collaborated to build this house, Grace being one of them. When it came time for Grace’s part of the construction so many people came to help that the fellowship of working together made the work enjoyable and all of the trim work was done in one day.
The children of Grace are involved with stewardship as well. The sixth grade Sunday school developed and implemented a bicycle-lending program for the patrons of Jubilee House. These are only a few examples that I have personally been involved with but I am sure if all the ministries were compiled into a book it would be the size of a James Mitchner novel.
The stewardship of Grace is very infectious. It draws people into Grace because Grace walks the talk. I have heard people comment throughout the community that the people of Grace are “the hands and feet of Christ”. This commitment of stewardship has inspired ministries from other churches to become involved with Grace ministries. Donations of food and hygiene products for the food and hygiene pantries; Friday and Sunday community meals served at Grace; volunteering at Jubilee House. There is even a ministry at the United Methodist Church in Empire called “Socks for Jubilee” where they collect donated socks and bring to Jubilee House. The Presbyterian Church donates money each quarter for help with operating funds of Jubilee House and Traverse Pie Company and Bob’s Heating donate and bring pot pies to Jubilee House each week so the patrons can have hot food before going out in the cold. Habitat for Humanity and Mark Roi of Inter-Lakes Insulation donated their time and talents on construction projects for Jubilee House. All in the name of stewardship for the love of God.
There is a poem that hangs on the wall of Jubilee House that expresses perfectly the stewardship of Grace Church.
Every time a hand reaches out to help another
That is Grace
Every time someone puts anger aside,
That is Grace
Every time people forget their differences
And realize their love for each other
That is Grace
May we have Grace everyday by giving from the heart,
Caring for others,
And living in peace.
When people have talked to me about my involvement in the things that I do and ask why do I do them, I tell them it is my stewardship to God and the people of Grace have shown me the way.
Thank you people of Grace for teaching me the ways of stewardship.