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2 Corinthians 9:
6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Every Christian person is called to walk the path of stewardship as part of their spiritual journey.
The first step along this path is embracing the first stewardship principle and incorporating it as our own. Simply stated, that principle is the belief that everything we are and everything we have is a gift from the loving God who made us. He has given us life, intelligence, abilities and an environment which provides the opportunity for us to make our way in the world. The work that we do rests upon the foundation of these wonderful gifts – and so we acknowledge that everything we are and everything we have is the direct result of God’s gift to us.
The second step along the path of stewardship is realizing that God asks that we return a part of his gifts to us to further the work of the church so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be preached and passed along from generation to generation. These “first fruits” are generally understood to be measured in the biblical standard of the tithe – roughly 10% of our income, our time and our energy and abilities dedicated to God’s work.
The third – and lifelong - step along the path of stewardship is living into God’s request. Few are able to jump into the tithe of time, talent and treasure immediately, but it is God’s desire that we begin to amend our lives in such a way that allows us to grow into it in a deliberate and systematic fashion. For some, the financial tithe is easy, but the gift of time and abilities is difficult. For others, the inverse is true. But we all discover eventually that the more we are able to conform to a life that honors God’s request for our “first fruits” the more blessed our lives become.