The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Stewardship Ministry helps congregations grow in their understanding and implementation of a life of stewardship.
Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of God’s family — the church — in managing life’s resources for His purposes.
Newsletter Article – December 2023
The Measure of Our Generosity
If you open up the Small Catechism, you’ll find a shortened version of the Third Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” But if you look up the list of the Ten Commandments in Exodus, you’ll find the full version:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:8–11)
Why did Luther shorten this commandment for the Small Catechism? Was it so that the kids wouldn’t have so much to memorize? No, it was because Luther knew that all the details of the Third Commandment were part of the “shadow” of the Old Testament (Col. 2:16). Or as St. Paul puts it, there is “letter” in the Old Testament law and “spirit” (2 Cor. 3:6). The details of not working on Saturday were fulfilled by Christ. That part of the Sabbath regulation no longer applies. But the spirit of the law does remain: We need to dedicate sufficient time each week to hearing God’s Word and giving it honor and respect. Or as Luther sums it up in the Small Catechism’s explanation to the Third Commandment: “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”
The same sort of analysis applies to our giving. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to give a tenth of their income to the Levites so that those men could dedicate their lives to serving in God’s house, teaching the people, conducting worship, etc. In the New Testament, there is a rigid requirement listed about handing in your tax forms to church to make sure you’ve given enough. But the mandate to have a full-time ministry, which is the spirit of that law concerning tithing to the Levites, is right there in 1 Corinthians 9:14: “The Lord has ordained that those who preach the Gospel should make their living from the Gospel.”
The New Testament church’s job is significantly larger than the job of Old Testament Israel. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to all nations. There was only the temple to maintain in the Old Testament, but we have churches, schools, universities and seminaries, plus missionaries everywhere. So you tell me: Can we really undertake the work of the ministry if our giving doesn’t even measure up to Old Testament levels of generosity?
The Scriptures tell us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”, (Prov. 22:6). We have the privilege of imparting the blessings of God’s Word upon His children through nurture and instruction. Years from now, those children will look back upon their Sunday Morning Sunday School Lessons as having had significant part in their spiritual upbringing.
We hope to have a Sunday School Program soon!
Our Pastor would love to meet with you to discuss marriage preparation. Please reach out to us to learn more. In the meantime, please remember these important keys:
Remember God's will for you in His institution of marriage
Be in prayer
Communicate with each other
Love one another
Forgive one another
We are always open to great new ideas when it comes to enhancing our worship with the gift of music. Do you sing, play an instrument, or have a musical talent you'd like to share? Contact our pastor today and let's talk!
If you need Pastoral care or support please call the Church office: 920-793-1716.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities and whatever your physical abilities are, we promise we can find a place to help you share your talent and time! Call the church office today and let's see what we can come up with together! Good Shepherd is involved in the community helping with TREP, the Ecumenical Christmas dinner, Meals on Wheels, the Sunday Supper, and MORE!