Stewardship is a comprehensive understanding of our role as the people of God. It can order every part of our individual and communal lives to serve God. It is formed out of a response to God’s abounding and incomprehensible love, which is made known to us in Jesus Christ. No area of lives, personal or communal, is beyond the scope of this thankfulness; not our checkbooks, not our environment, not our hobbies, not our cars or material possessions, not our careers, not our politics.
The tithe is a symbol of a wholehearted response to the Good News from God in Jesus the Messiah. It is 10% of our family income that we dedicate to God’s work. It helps us to fulfill the “the duty of all Christians [..] to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God [BCP p 856].”
The organizing principle is to ask the question, “How does this serve God?” 100% is to serve God (Matthew 19:16-26). The Tithe is considered “the minimum standard of giving” by the Episcopal Church, a goal to be attained over a lifetime of disciplined planning and growth.
All challenging things in our lives require planning and discipline. Giving expresses the oblation of “our selves, our souls and bodies” for service to God. So we talk about Stewardship in various facets all year round, creating opportunities to reflect on different parts of the comprehensive whole we strive to achieve.
Areas of Stewardship:
- Of ourselves, our spiritual, mental, and physical well being.
- Of our Community/Neighbors: how do we relate to Vancouver, Clark County, Washington State, the Northwestern USA, and the USA.
- Of our Church, where as community we gather and restore/renew our relationship to God, where others gather for their own well-being.
- Of God’s Creation: our relationship with all of creation and to the Earth, “our fragile island home”(BCP p. 370). Human stewardship extends to all creation.