52 Weeks of Stewardship


“Dessert First” is our Stewardship campaign again this year, focusing on giving back to God our best.  Our emphasis is “52 Weeks of Stewardship,” and we will be sharing stewardship thoughts and stories from members of our congregation along with others.

Stewardship means many things to each one of us. It is not just a once a year occurrence. It is a daily act of giving back to God, His creation and His people in response to Gods gracious blessings and love for us.

Each of you has received your own special gift to use to serve others, (1 Peter 4:10) and we pray that you will use these gifts intentionally to grow in your stewardship of this church, those in need, the poor, and all creation.

We pray these devotions will help you discern your thoughts on stewardship and be a guide throughout the coming year as we grow together in God’s love for us.

“Stewardship is everything you do after you say ‘I believe’.”

Week beginning:  Oct. 27, 2013

As a Parent Loves a Child,      Shared by Sunshine Community Church of Grand Rapids

2 Corinthians 8:7

“But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

Paul Loved the church in Corinth as a parent loves a child.  He witnessed the outpouring of God’s gifts upon the believing community.  They had been given salvation in Christ, an articulate testimony, knowledge, faith, and spiritual gifts that continue to enrich the community.  It seems the lacked nothing.  Even in the area of material and physical needs, the Corinthian community was very comfortable.

Yet just as any loving and committed parent would, Paul continued to lead, teach, and advise the community of Corinth.  In his second letter to the church, Paul encourages the believers to identify themselves with the greater ministry of the early Christian church.  Paul recognizes their past support and yet admonishes them to continue to support the ministry going on in Jerusalem.  He encourages them that their practice of generosity should match the same standard of excellence they demonstrate in other areas of their walk with Jesus.  Specifically, they should count God as the owner of all they possess and give from that posture.

An individual who does not truly count God as the owner of all they have can never be truly generous.  Generosity flows from a posture that sees everything as owned by God.  Who owns your life, possessions, and wealth?

Week beginning:  Nov. 3, 2013

What does Stewardship mean to me?  Submitted by members of Immanuel Lutheran Church

On Sept. 15 we asked you to give us your definition of Stewardship.  What does it mean to me?  We were blown away by your responses and wanted to share them with you.  They were all done anonymously.  Here are a random sample of what you thought.

  1. My response to God’s love and all of my blessings.
  2. Growing
  3. Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible management of resources.
  4. Stewardship means helping others.
  5. Stewardship is; serving others, caring for others, preserving resources, using the talents God gave us.
  6. Remembering everything we have is a gift from God and given to us by His Grace.

Dear Lord, thank you for our congregation that is so willing to share their thought, talents, and resources.  We are truly blessed!

Week beginning:  Nov. 10, 2013

 Life:  A Daily Gift of Abundance From God,    Submitted by Pastor Hanrahan

Read Psalm 23 (and especially hear the verses) “…My cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.  And I will dwell in the Lord forever.”

Wow!  If that isn’t a sign of love – then what is?  God gives us a life overflowing with blessings!  God walks with us daily from mountaintop experiences through to the low plains of pain and darkness!  God provides a safe dwelling with God in this life and through life forevermore!

How can we say “Thank you”?  How can our lives reflect our appreciation for such a grace-giving God?

Daily care for and manage God’s abundant gifts.

That’s Stewardship – to use not abuse what God gives us.  To be sure we share with others the gifts of our well-being and to care for others as we have been cared for!

Count our blessing intentionally.

That’s Stewardship – To realize that each day is a gift from God.  Our family, vocation, retirement, school, vacation, church, recreation – ALL comes from God!  How can we not count our blessings and want to share them with others?  Life in God is a “a bowl of cherries” and not just “pits’!

Give as we have received and giving our first fruits.

That’s Stewardship – As Psalm 23 indicates – God blesses us with the best, therefore, would we want to do any less?  Why would we want to hold back and give God (and our neighbor) the crumbs of our gifts or the leftovers?  God doesn’t give us the leftovers!  God gives us the VERY BEST through GOD’S SON, Jesus Christ.

Stewardship is not just dollars (and yet, again, it is)!  Because STEWARDSHIP is how we respond to what God has blessed us with and how we will use these blessings of life, time, skills, assets, and dollars within our lives and for the sake of others.  STEWARDSHIP BUILDS COMMUNITIES WITHIN THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD.

Let us TOGETHER build out of our ABUNDANCE not out of our SCARCITY.

Let us pray:  God, we thank you for your gifts of grace that endure forever.  Help us daily to count our blessings and 9daily) help us to give out of our abundance to share with others.  So be it!


Week beginning:  Nov. 17, 2013

Lavish Grace,    Submitted by Nina Painton

        “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us.”  Ephesians 1:7-8

The older I get, the more I understand how rich are the blessings God has given us.  The greatest blessing, undeserved forgiveness of our sins, is given to us because of His great mercy and love.  That’s lavish grace.

Our church is a wonderful place to learn more about Bod’s grace, and as we support church with our money, our time and talents, we make possible Sunday School where children learn about God’s love for them.  Seniors in our church & community have access to our wonderful WOW program.  We make quilt for wounded vets, help build homes for those who need them, feed hungry children in Webster and across the world.  And that’s only a few of the things we do.

Heavenly Father, give us thankful hearts for your many blessings and your lavish grace.  Help us to rejoice in all the good things that happen at Immanuel and help us become lavish givers.


Week beginning:  Nov. 24, 2013

To See a Brother in Need,   Shared by Sunshine Community Church of Grand Rapids

1 John 3:17

“If anyone has material possession and sees his brother in need but has not pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Deer children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.”

In the verse preceding this text, John writes, “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”.  What does it mean to “lay your life down” for your brothers?  Does this mean we are to literally die for them?

Verses 17 & 18 offer two practical ways to lay down our lives for our brothers.  First, if we have material possessions, we are to give to our brothers who are in need.  Second, we are to love not only with words, but with actions and in truth.

We could give people our excess in material goods and try to be helpful, but we would be in danger of not showing true love.  True love means actions that stem from a heart of conviction, a heart of commitment – a heart filled with love of God.  This kind of heart condition only comes when we lay our lives before the cross of Jesus and say, “All that I am and all that I have are yours, Lord.  Show me who you want me to love and minister to today”.  This takes the focus off you and puts it on God.

Meditate on how you can lay down your life for your brothers within the church.


Week beginning:  Dec. 1, 2013

What does Stewardship mean to me?  Submitted by members of Immanuel Lutheran Church

On Sept. 15 we asked you to give us your definition of Stewardship.  What does it mean to me?  We were blown away by your responses and wanted to share them with you.  They were all done anonymously.  Here are a random sample of what you thought.

  1. Giving back.
  2. Stewardship is giving and caring for our church and community.
  3. Not sure of the meaning of Stewardship other than giving to the church.
  4. Stewardship means sharing all that I have and can do to the Lord.  As I am able.
  5. Stewardship means…how you take care of something or someone and whether or not you do it in the name of God.
  6. Stewardship is giving back To our God.

Dear Lord, thank you for our congregation that is so willing to share their thought, talents, and resources.  We are truly blessed!

Week beginning:  Dec. 8, 2013

Submitted by Benjamin Derleth

DTRT. Do the right thing. God just always wants us to do what’s right in every situation he places us in. We always need to examine our situations and make the best decision in that situation based upon what is best for others and ourselves. And that’s what doing the right thing is, taking care of others. If you always put others interests before yours, then you’re always doing the right thing and ultimately you’re always doing God’s will.


Week beginning:  Dec. 15, 2013

 WE DO IT FOR THE LORD             Submitted by Dave Reville

Mathew 25:40  And the king will answer them, ’Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

There is an old hymn that states: “And we believe Thy Word, Though dim our faith may be:  What’er for Thine we do, O Lord, We do it unto Thee.”

I think that expresses my feelings about giving to the church.  Giving encompasses not just monetary gifts but giving my time and talents as well.  Yes our church need to meet a budget just like you and I have to at home as there are given expenses necessary for Word and Witness to grow and flourish.  My family looks upon giving as an honor and privilege for the Lord as a “Thanksgiving for Thanks living”.

Prayer Of The Day:  Lord God, help us to be giver and doers of the Word:  help us to recognize that we can never forget what you have and continually do provide for us and help us always give as cheerful givers of our time, wealth and talents to your honor and glory. Amen


Week beginning:  Dec. 22, 2013


“We Give Thee but Thine Own,” ELW 686 (another prospective)

 Shared by Bruce Hanstedt, Manitowoc, WI

God Pause daily devotions, May 4, 2013


We give thee but thine own,

Whate’er the gift may be;

All that we have is thine alone,

A trust, O Lord, from thee.


May we thy bounties thus

And stewards true receive,

And gladly, as thou blesses us,

To thee our firstfruits give.


The captive to release,

To God the lost to bring,

to teach the way of life and peace-

It is a Christlike thing.


And we belive thy word,

Though dim our faith may be:

Whate’er we do for thine, O Lord,

We do it unto thee.

The first verse of this hymn was sung every Sunday in the 1950’s as the offering was carried to the altar in our small county church.  So the offering was about returning to God what belonged to God (“We give thee but thine own”).  What I didn’t catch was that in daily living of life the true offering pleasing to God is in the hymn’s final phrase:  “…whate’er we do for thine, O Lord, we do it unto thee.”

In the Old Testament narrative those in power among God’s people were constantly reminded to show hospitality to the orphan, widow and sojourner (i.e., “For you were sojourners in Egypt”).  The prophets warned of consequences that the wealthy and powerful would face if they did not attend to the needs of the poor.  Old Testament theologians are fond of the phrase, “God’s preferential treatment of the poor.”  And then of course Christ is the reality that his needs were identical with the needs of the disenfranchised.  “I was hungry and you feed me…”  Finally there’s the book of James with the line:  “True liturgy is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”  “Whate’er we do for thine, O Lord we do it unto thee.”  It’s a good hymn, isn’t it?  A very good hymn.

Risen Lord, it’s all gift, isn’t it:  Your redemption at the cross and your gift of the church, thus meeting all our needs.  Help us to truly worship you this day.  Help us to “remember the poor.”  Amen.


         Week beginning:  Dec. 29, 2013


“For it is in giving, that you shall receive.”    St. Francis of Assisi               Submitted by Bonnie Slack 

Read Psalm 150:1-6

How long has it been since you have tried to “jump out of your box” and do something different with the gifts God has given to you? Have you recently tried anything challenging that you have never done before, and maybe even out of your comfort zone?

If you have, you may have experienced the emotions of fear, incompetence, concern that you may not be good enough, and worry that you’re just not comfortable out here in this new zone. But imagine if instead, you felt full of joy, love, friendship and fellowship.

Yes, giving of our money to the church is certainly what God wants us to do in order to support our daily church operations, benevolences, community outreach and the wide variety of ways in which we, as a church, help others where ever there is need. We could not have the amazing church that we do without our money.

But we must not forget about the giving of our time and talents. God has given us the gifts of time and talent.   How to use them?………is the question.


When Marguerite Manning brought together a small group of us to discuss an idea that had been brewing in her head for a while, I never realized what a gift I would soon be given. Yes, I had to make a time commitment, for once every week, and yes, I had to do some research and yes, I had never done anything like this before.

Please God, Help me on this one!!

I walked away from that meeting with all kinds of worry and concerns yet I felt full of a renewed sense of energy about beginning this new journey. I also walked away as “Senior Exercise Instructor”!


The offering of my time and (Talent?) has indeed given me friendship, fellowship, laughter, new connections, community outreach, new learning and an exciting, new way to praise God for the gifts he has given to me.

Giving back to God and God’s people will give you the greatest joy you will ever know.


Lord God, through the blessing of Your Son Jesus Christ, we know that you are with us each day and fill our lives with blessings. Speak to our hearts and mind this day and help us to hear Your voice telling us how to best use our gifts to your service. In your Holy Name, we pray. Amen