Stained Glass Round

Message from the Pastor
from the Bethel Beacon

            Bethel Lutheran Church       Bemidji, Minnesota

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A long time member of my congregation in Stanley, ND had a cross-stitched saying on her kitchen wall: “For God so loved the world that he didn’t send a committee.”  Certainly there is some tongue and cheek going on, but on a more serious note the quote is right on.  God did something about his love for the world: He sent his son, ‘God with skin on’ to everyone.  In a similar way, Jesus said “Go therefore...”  It was a commission!  This captures the majority report of the New Testament mission emphasis.  In order for the church to grow, it needed to be out there in the world sharing the message, “that God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all”.  The early church encouraged everyone to share in the labor and cost of spreading that message.  St. Paul encouraged the congregational members in all of his churches to share in the giving in such a way that everyone could offer the same sacrifice:  He instructed them to give in proportion to what they had been given. Today, we can do the same. Think of all that God has blessed us with. You and I are called to give not only as individual believers, but also as a congregation of believers.  That is why we have our annual Consecration Sunday this Sunday, October 1st: We are in this together!  May we, through our giving and sharing, continue to share the Good news of Jesus here in this place and throughout the world. 

What is stewardship?  Some sample definitions

“Christian stewardship is the practice of the Christian religion.  It is neither a department of life, nor a sphere of activity.  It is the Christian conception of life as a whole, manifested in attitudes and actions.”  W.H. Greever (1937)

Christian stewardship is the practice of systematic and proportionate giving of time, abilities, and material possessions, based upon the conviction that these are trusts from God to be used in his service for the benefit of all mankind in grateful acknowledgement of Christ’s redeeming love.” National Council of Churches United Stewardship Council (1946)

“Stewardship is what we do after we say we believe.”  Clarence C. Stoughton  (1949)

“Stewardship is partnership with Christ, through the Holy Spirit, in fulfilling the purposes of God in the world.”  A.C. Conrad (1955)

“Stewardship is the re-enactment of Christ’s life in Christ’s people.”  T.A. Kantonen (1956)

“Stewardship is the management of life and all its resources for God and for the good of all.” Robert Hastings (1961)

“Stewardship is receiving and sharing God’s bounteous gifts and managing them for the best promotion of God’s purposes in the world.”  Milo Kauffman (1975)

“Stewardship is taking care of the bounty that God continually provides us.”  L. David Brown (1978)

“Christian stewardship has come to mean ‘what we do with what we have, all the time.’”  John H. MacNaughton  (1983)

“Stewardship is a philosophy of life and a theological form of self-management.”  John Brackett (1988)

“Stewardship is God’s grace working God’s purpose out in the world, in, with and through us, who, in grateful response to God and through faith in Jesus Christ, enter into a covenant relationship with the empowering Spirit of God that blesses all of creation.”  Rhodes Thompson (1990)


Rev. Mark Kindem

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Last modified September 29, 2017