Dear Church Family,
I have a slight nerdy bent so when preparing for this article, I decided to google the word stewardship to get a definition. Here’s what I found:
People often use scripture verses to foster stewardship and encourage giving. “God loves a cheerful giver.” “Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly.” “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not man.”
My favorite verse about stewardship is from the Old Testament: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
That sounds more like the joy of taking care of something. Adam wasn’t put in the garden to earn a profit and rely on that profit to feed his kids, protect him from a drought or flood, prepare for retirement, and still use some of that profit to be generous to others. He was supposed to take care of the garden. Give it what it needed. Take what it provided.
How do we think of stewardship differently if we think of UCC as our garden? Do we think, “The children's ministry really needs a lot of water.” Or, “The apple tree should just give apples because that’s its job. We shouldn’t have to give it sunlight.” Of course not!
Imagine sitting in a peaceful, fragrant, colorful garden. Each plant was given what it needed in time, energy, and resources. And each provides joy, in its unique and perfect way.
Keeping a garden alive in Central Texas is not easy. (We tried it at UCC! We now have a Gaga Ball pit instead.)
But keeping the garden that is UCC blooming is possible. We give the garden what it needs in the form of money, time, energy, and care. We are rewarded with its beauty: children’s programs, paid utility bills, mission trips, community, and connection.
We don’t give because we are supposed to. We give because we are one of the required resources for the garden. And because we are each one of the beautiful flowers that bloom.
2023 Stewardship Team Lead