Stewardship thoughts for January 2018
December 31/January 1: Circumcision and Name of Jesus
Psalm 8:2 – “Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength.” Jesus pointed to a little child as the image of faith. Infants and children show us a living picture of the sort of trust and dependence we should have on our Heavenly Father. The good works of our Christian life flow forth from that trust.
January 6: Epiphany
Isaiah 60:6 – “They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.” Faith in God moves the heart toward thanksgiving, which moves us toward making offerings to the Lord in His House. It’s simply what Christians do: our thanksgiving to our Lord for all His benefits to us simply must overflow into sacrificial giving to the Lord. What Isaiah prophesied, the Wise Men did, and we still do today: give with a thankful heart.
January 7: Baptism of Our Lord
Matthew 3:14 – John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" John is right: what Jesus is doing makes no sense! But this is the upside down, outlandish grace of God: the innocent Jesus takes our sinner’s place. This is the greatest act of giving the world has ever known or will know: The Father gives His Son to die in the place of sinners.
January 14: Second Sunday after Epiphany
John 2:5 – His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." What must Mary have thought when Jesus replied, “What does this have to do with Me?” But she knew this: whatever her Son said to do would be a blessing, so she knows what advice to give to the servants: Do whatever He tells you! That’s still good advice for us in every aspect of our lives – including in our generosity toward the Lord’s work in the Church.
January 21: Transfiguration
Matthew 17:7 – But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." When Jesus is with us, there is no need to fear. He loves us and cares for us and will never abandon us. That assurance is the basis of all generosity – for only those who are set free from worry can learn the joy of giving.
January 28: (Septuagesima)
1 Corinthians 9:25 – “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” Self control is a fruit of the Spirit – for the desires of the flesh are at war with the desires of the Spirit. We have received the new life in Christ by His grace. Now He calls us to follow Him deliberately, with self-control and with intention.
Luke 2:21 “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” The Name of Jesus means “the Lord Saves.” There is no better way to end or begin a year than with the sweet comfort of the Name of Jesus. He saves us. He loves us. He desires to bless us. That assurance is the basis for all we do in our Christian lives, in the realm of stewardship and in every realm.