by Ayo Omoniyi
I will like to take this opportunity to say thank you for accepting my family to this church.
When I was asked to talk about Stewardship and reflection to Psalms 23, the question that comes to my mind is – where would I start? Is this topic about confessing my sins in the front of the whole church?
NO. This is about talking about my faith as it relates to stewardship.
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship can be described as a way of Christian living by which we realize that everything we own belongs to our God. So therefore all our resources must be used for His Glory.
Stewardship is often associated with money. While the association is not wrong, stewardship means more than that. Our time, our talents and our material possessions constitute just some of the treasures we have been given by our generous God. Sharing these gifts involves being with God in prayers and worship, using our gifts to help build God’s Kingdom among our family, friends, our workplace, and our communities.
To me Stewardship means giving GRATITUDE to Almighty God for His Blessings and His Unconditional Love for me and my family.
While growing up in Nigeria my late mother will get us up at 05:30am everyday with the exception of Sundays to attend early morning prayers service at the church. After morning service on Saturdays, my mother and the rest of my siblings will clean the whole church. At that time, I have no clue why she made us clean the church up every week before Sunday service and why is it only us doing it?
Today, I know the reason. She was glorifying the lord by cleaning His House and giving gratitude to the Lord for giving her children after many people have told her she will not be able to have kids. It was after eighteen years of marriage she was first able to have her first child and the baby died a year later. She had three of us after that struggle and agony of losing a child.
I came to the United States over thirty years ago to pursue my educational dream. How I finished my undergraduate degrees and graduate degree is beyond my understanding, because how I was able to pay for my tuition through my odd jobs, / cooking at restaurants. I realized that it is through the Grace of God.
I found myself doing the same thing my mother did at my church in Oklahoma City. I took a janitors job at the church that I was attending and upon receiving my bi-weekly check from the church, I will write my check for the same amount back to the church.
Now Psalm 23:1-3 – what is this sentence “I shall not be in wants” mean?
As human beings there are a lot of things that we desire, and we may someday even lack some things that we desire. Even while at times we may suffer from the lack of material resources, the descriptions in Psalm 23:2 express the quality of God’s care for us at all times. The reason why ‘I shall not be in want “ is because the Good Lord is guiding us “ in part of righteousness for his name sake.”
Several years ago I asked the Deacon at my former church several questions:
- Why is our Lord so good to me?
- Why am I so fortunate to have a good family i.e. why fortunate to meet my lovely wife whose faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ is bigger than mine?
- Why am I so fortunate to have healthy children? Why no complication when she was having our babies? Why are we so blessed? What a good God.
The Deacon looked at me with a smile and said because our God is a Loving God.
This is just a little story of my life that I am sharing today.
My family goal is to dedicate ourselves in supporting the church in all ways, by serving at church, to be involved in church activities and support the church financially.
We can all share good stories about what God has done in our lives, but what about his Grace over us that we did not even realize.
In good times we often confuse God’s providence with our own accomplishments. When everything goes well we tend to congratulate ourselves, forgetting that it is not by our power but through the grace of God.
Therefore my question to you again is what are you giving gratitude to God for in your life?
As faithful stewards, we are joined by our common gift of life in a world we share, and the reality of finite resources. We recognize that each of us is a mixture of neediness and fullness. Together, we share a responsibility to care for each other and all God’s children.
My question to you today is, “are you using your wealth, talent and other opportunity to be Jesus Christ’s heart, hands and feet to your neighbors no matter where they are on their journey of faith?”
Though talking about money in the Church to parishioners is a delicate balance, however how do we manage a church or carry out the church’s mission statement without not been financial stable? So we need the parishioner to support the church financially.
On our first visit to St Martin, several youths came to welcome my children and tried their best to make them feel welcome. Several couples came towards us and welcome us and showed us around the church. Couple of ladies brought delicious homemade bread to our house and asking us to come back. Here we are today member of the church. This is an example of stewardship that was demonstrated during our first visit.
God gave us life and created us for Himself and He wants our total being. How we use the resources in our control expresses our gift of self to God.
All God wants from us is our heart.