What do you think of when you see that word? Many of us think immediately of money. We recall that time in our congregation’s life when we are asked to make a financial commitment for the coming year. At some level, however, we are aware that stewardship is more than money. Stewardship is how we live out our calling as followers of Christ. Stewardship is what we do after we say that we believe. (PCUSA Stewardship Manual)
In our lives as stewards, the gifts we offer: time, talent and our financial resources are holy gifts. They are symbols of love and signs of grace that are offered out of joy and devotion. These gifts are not dues to be paid or entrance fees to be offered. They are gifts of love. These gifts that we offer to God are symbols of our covenant of love with Jesus Christ, made in response to our understanding of Christ’s great love, which was offered first for us. (PCUSA Stewardship Manual)
The tithe is an Old Testament idea. Prior to the coming of Christ, tithing was the law of the land requiring Israelites to give 10 percent of crops and livestock to the church or temple. Since the coming of Christ, we have moved away from tithing as law into a period of giving as we are able. The New Testament does not require Christians to systematically tithe, nor does it suggest a certain percentage of income to give. As Christians, we should make prayerful consideration in deciding how much to give and allow our giving to be a blessing.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)