Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2005



Two keys to faithful stewarding
Exactly what does it mean to be the steward of what God has given us personally and collectively? And just what is required? Theological debates on stewardship pivot on just these questions, and two key principles can guide us: accountability and responsibility.

When he spoke last week at Gettysburg Seminary, theologian Douglas John Hall said these two elements arise from the biblical witness and provide enormous insight into what we are to do and how we are to go about it.  We'll be exploring and sharing more of Hall's insights over the next few weeks, but we'll start with accountability and responsibility.

Accountability implies several thing, says Hall. First, we are not the boss. We are not free to do whatever we wish with the resources God has entrusted to us. Human beings are not the CEOs of creation, but rather the servants who must answer to a higher authority for stewardship and the results.

For example, in the familiar Gospel parable of the servants and the talents, the servants are held to account for what they did with the master's  money. It is not enough to keep the money safe, the servants are expected to show results from their stewardship. They are rewarded or punished accordingl
y. They are held accountable for their decisions. 

Next, responsibility implies ability, says Hall. The fact that God has made people responsible for their gifts and for creation implies that God has given us capacity to make wise choices. In the parable, the servants are given the talents, but not specific instructions what to do with them. The master simply expects them to draw upon their intelligence and good judgment to sort out various options and settle on a good one.   

So as we engage the many challenges of personal, congregational and social stewardship, we can assume that God has not only given us the intelligence and good judgment to make wise decisions, but also that God expects us to. And that Gold will hold us accountable for the results. Accountability and responsibility: Two keys to faithful stewarding.

-Rob Blezard, Editor and Webmaster

New This Week:

Not Just Desserts: A Stewardship Cookbook
This is a comprehensive resource perfect for congregation looking for a recipe for a good stewardship program. It covers 10 important aspects, including improving the climate for giving, setting priorities, assessing scope. Written by the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, the Cookbook reflects a Mainline protestant viewpoint. Click here for "A Stewardship Cookbook," made available by The Network for Episcopal Stewardship.

 A full life in God's Technicolor
 "The concept of eternal life is not just a linear thing in that it never ends.  It is also a qualitative thing.  God gives us life in living color.  There is depth to the pain and the joy.  There is a richness to the textures and the sounds and the smells." Click here for Pastor Dana Reardon's weekly column.

Being in harmony with nature
his message from the Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA reflects on the nature of God's Trinitarian life in relationship to the wonder of creation.  Click here for "Being in harmony with nature," from the Episcopal Church's Environmental Stewardship page.

Digging Deeper: Money and Your Heart
 Why is it harder for a rich person to go to heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? This piece from Moody Magazine offers some valuable insights. "Money can make it hard for an independently minded person to admit his need and dependently trust Christ for eternal salvation." Click here for "Digging Deeper," from the archives of Moody Magazine. This week's Treasure Chest offering.

When you're looking for God's provision
The "Purpose-Driven Pastor" Rick Warren says God will meet all our needs, but not all our greeds."As a parent, do you give your kids everything they want? I hope you don't. You don't do that because you love them. And your heavenly Father loves you. He's not going to give you everything you want because if he did, you'd be spoiled to death." Interesting reading. Click here for "God's provision," from Pastors.com.