The Stewardship of Faith
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
These are the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians. He writes them near the end of his first letter. But while they come to us at the end of his letter, they serve as a poignant reminder of the faith of which we are stewards.
Yes, that right! We are stewards of the faith. Remember what a steward is. It is a manager, a caretaker. Stewards manage things that have been given to them in trust by the owner. This is true of our earthly possessions. And this April, as we mark the Year of Stewardship, we are reminded that we too are stewards of the faith delivered to the saints of ages past.
This faith begins and ends with Jesus. He is the One that dies, is buried in a borrowed tomb and rises for the sake of sinners like you and me. This is the heart of the Christian faith. It is what makes Christians different from EVERY other religion in the world. God in Christ is reconciling the world to Himself. We donít clean our act up to earn Godís favor. No, instead while we were still sinners our Lord gives us the greatest gifts that we mark this month as we celebrate Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. This faith that we confess is the greatest gift!
This gift is given for us to manage. He gave that gift of death and resurrection first to Peter and then the 12. Then it was 500 brothers at the same time! After that this came to Paul on the road to Damascus. It was a gift to them. But they didnít horde that gift. As managers, they passed that gift on to following generations. And now, by the preaching of the Gospel and the sharing of our faith, that gift has come to us.
And what do we do with it? We manage it. But how? WE GIVE IT AWAY!! Dear friends, our faith is just like the flour and the oil that belonged to the Widow of Zarapheth. With only enough to make one cake, she first took care of the Prophet Elijah and it never ran out! As we steward our faith by confessing it before the world and giving testimony to it freely to our friends, family and loved ones, we find that it never runs dry. Instead, our faithful stewardship of the faith causes it to grow. As we are in Godís Word in Bible Study and devotions, as we hear of the forgiveness of sins that is our in Christ in Holy Absolution and as we partake of Christís body and blood in the precious Sacrament of the Altar, that faith we stewards grows exponentially!
So as you mark this season with the holiest days in the Church calendar, remember that you are to steward the faith that God has given you to confess in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Give it away. Invite others to come and see. And in the process, as you lead them to the Word, your faith WILL grow too.
A blessed Holy Week and Easter to you.
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