The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Stewardship in my life has 3 pillars:
· Stewardship is about being part of something greater than myself.
· Tithing gives me a chance to see God’s work in daily life.
· Lastly, it’s my way of being a good steward of what God has blessed my life with.
I have been blessed with many examples of stewardship. My grandfather was the most influential. Grandpa Nelson had an easy spirit with a welcoming smile and a chuckle, I can still hear today. He taught me, through his actions, how being a good steward doesn’t limit your opportunities but opens doors to be something greater.
See Grandpa Nelson had 9 kids, one of which was my mother, was a farmer, owned a tractor business and even served as a Nebraska State Senator. The Nebraska town he lived in had a population of 2,000. Every summer when I was visited, I would meet the people he helped to find work in this small city. He would take me on “errands” where we would check in on trailer homes he had purchased so new residents could have an affordable place to live.
His farm was filled with gratitude repayments such as a boat, several cars and pieces of implements that would be used in farming fields. One summer there were even 6 white mules.
As a kid I thought this yard, filled with these items was a sign of wealth, but as I matured, I understood that they were repayments for my Grandfathers goodwill deals. He really didn’t want these material items, nor did my Grandmother who saw them as an eye sore at her house, but it was another family’s way of repaying my Grandfather for what he had done for their family.
In a small town there is a lot of “chatter” regarding your actions and some of Grandpa’s ideas of charity or goodwill were not popular. People in the town would judge his decisions for helping the wrong person or building in the wrong area or not wanting those people in their town. My Grandfather was not worried about their judgement, as his faith was very strong. He knew who was going to judge him and he wasn’t worried about the town. He taught me that stewardship is about being part of something greater than myself.
My second pillar - Tithing has helped me see God’s work in daily life. In addition to Shepherd of the Valley that we give through Simply Giving, Our preferred charities include World Vision, Lutheran Retreats Camps & Conferences and Lutheran Social Services. For World Vision we sponsor a child in Africa. One Christmas our gifts to our family were donations made to World Vision. The donations went towards purchasing farm animals or toys for designated villages. LRCC is a great way for children and families to learn about God’s word in a fun environment. The other charity we support is LSS as I have witnessed how they help people in our community. Over the years, I have participated in the LSS walk and other fun runs that introduced me to amazing people who share the gift of giving back. The leaders such as Jan Maseda and Pastor Glen Egertson are an example to me of how I see God’s work in my daily life.
My last pillar is I feel called to be a good steward of what God has blessed my life with. My career path has been an accountant for family owned businesses. In my role, the number one goal is to protect their assets; cash, inventory, office supplies, not only from theft but to ensure they are responsibly put to use. In the accounting standards it is described as being a steward of the company assets. I apply this same principle in our family budget when it comes to tithing decisions.
In summary, making a stewardship commitment takes faith and dedication. In my life, being a good steward has not always been easy but looking back, making those sacrifices has never left me wanting.