Stewardship Notes for February 2019

     In our monthly articles concerning Stewardship, we have been exploring various aspects of how we use the resources that God has entrusted to our care to love God and our neighbors.    We acknowledge that God has called us to serve our neighbors, including those that are near and also those that are far away.  This month, we emphasize that we are Stewards of Global Community.  

    In his description of the judgment of the nations, Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,  and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;  for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?  And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?  And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’  And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’. . . “  [Matthew 25:31-40  NRSV]  And Proverbs says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.   Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.”  [Proverbs 3:27-28  NRSV]

     Clearly, these scriptures must be understood and applied in both local and global contexts, because our opportunities to serve are not limited by geography.   Despite our differences in culture and language, all people throughout our world have the same basic needs:  clean air, clean water, nourishing food, adequate shelter, and access to health care, education, and social justice.  But poverty, thirst, hunger, disease, violence, oppression, ignorance and injustice are widespread.  As followers of our Lord, we are part of a global community of congregations and service organizations.    If we find an opportunity to help someone in need personally, then we should do it without hesitation; but if we aren’t able to serve them personally, then we may provide financial support to partner organizations that can.  Let us be attentive to the needs of our brothers and sisters who are both near and far away, and act wherever we find an opportunity. 

     On February 3, your donations to the “Souper Bowl of Caring” at Peace Lutheran Church will be distributed to ELCA World Hunger, which supports sustainable solutions that address the root causes of hunger and poverty in our world.  Come to our Stewardship Community Connections cluster on Sunday, February 24 to learn about more opportunities to be Stewards of Global Community.