The four Sundays in February are in the Epiphany season of the Church Year calendar. Epiphany is a word that means “showing forth” or “manifesting.” The Epiphany season begins on January 6 with the visit of the Wise Men to worship the Baby Jesus as the newborn King of the Jews. The season continues with the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, the calling of His first disciples, His preaching the good news of salvation and the opening of His famous Sermon on the Mount. In the four Gospel readings for February we find Jesus teaching that we are lights in this spiritually dark world who give evidence of our new birth as Christians as we love even our enemies and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. To live that way is truly an “epiphany experience” to show that we really belong to our Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit live renewed lives.
That’s what Christian stewardship is all about! Wise Christian stewards manage all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes and do it freely and joyfully! We practice the kind of stewardship that is pleasing to our Lord when we give freely and generously of our time to serve in special ways that bless the mission of the church and the people living in our communities. This kind of stewardship is also shown when we freely and joyfully offer our talents and skills to help the church prosper and make life sweeter for those around us. This kind of stewardship continues when we give freely and joyfully of our financial resources to support the work of the church in nurturing believers and reaching out to invite others to know Jesus.
Many people view Christian stewardship as something that we have to do [a command] in order to be true followers of Jesus. That simply is not true! Real Christian stewardship is the privilege of offering all that we are and have to make a difference in this world of spiritual darkness. Just as Jesus came on that first Christmas to bring light to a darkened world, so we are called to follow His example. Will we follow in His footsteps perfectly, use all that we are and have in truly unselfish ways and be willing to make sacrifices so the mission of Christ’s church on earth may prosper and become a home for many more redeemed people? No, of course not! We are sinners and will fall short of the glory of God. But, in Christ, God has declared us to be saints because our sins and shortcomings have been forgiven and the Holy Spirit empowers us to let our lights shine so that people will see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.
The bottom line for Christian stewards is to hear and obey our Lord’s words when he taught:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [material blessings] will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
itself.” (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)