Stewardship

The Good and Faithful Servant

In 2015, Orthodox Parish Development launched this blog with a goal of inspiring giving from an Orthodox Christian perspective. Since that time, thousands of individuals have visited EveryGoodandPerfectGift.org to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind resource to help individuals and parishes grow the spiritual practice of giving back.

Much of what you will read on this blog will be about raising funds for the Church and charity, and about giving financially for the same. However, please know that we understand the good and faithful servant to be someone who gives not only his money but his entire life back to God.  We are all familiar with the phrase “time, talent, and treasure,” which describes all aspects of our giving back to God. Read More →

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The gift is doubled by the manner of giving.  +St. John Chrysostom

Teaching by Example

Girl_Lighting_a_CandleWhen her children were grade school age, Alexandra’s church asked Sunday School students to pledge a weekly stewardship amount. Each student was given a box of 52 envelopes for bringing their weekly offering to church.

Her career in finance helped her appreciate this structure. Together, each Saturday evening, Alexandra and her children would take the boxes of envelopes out of their cabinet and fill one for each child with the amount they committed for the week.  Read More →

Adam, where are you?

The question…that is asked of everyone at the beginning of Lent and throughout the season: Adam, where are you? (Gen. 3:9). Where is your heart? What do you live for? What do you love? For as Jesus, the true and perfect Adam, has said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mt. 6:21).

From the Lenten Spring by Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Testimonial: Come, Follow Me

Calling of Philip & Nathaniel-med

As a priest, over the years I’ve spoken to my parishioners countless times about stewardship. In particular, I often speak about percentage giving. At a clergy retreat I attended a few years ago, a fellow priest spoke to us about stewardship, and during his talk he mentioned that he himself tithes. That got me thinking. In my home, I want to raise my children to be Christians. To that end, I intentionally try to model what that looks like on a daily basis. I want my children to see me praying, fasting, giving alms, speaking with kindness, showing love, etc. After hearing my brother priest speak about tithing, I was convicted to do the same kind of intentional modeling for my church family. If I hope to nurture the practice of sacrificial giving, I must lead the way by example. It was a leap of faith in our family to begin to tithe. But I believe it is the only way I can expect the same from my parishioners. Now when I talk about stewardship, I let my parish know that my own family tithes and invite them to join me.

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The time which you lend to God is not lost: He will return it to you with abundant interest.

+St. Basil the Great

Living Generously

Liberality is living generously; it serves as a weapon against greed. Give freely to others when it is within your power to do so, without any expectation of getting something in return. This includes giving to the homeless, neighbors, and those in our own families. We can’t simply expect this from our children. We model it when they watch us joyfully give to others and when they are recipients of our generosity. And we can help them live generously by providing opportunities for them to give and serve.

From The Ascetic Lives of Mothers, by Annalisa Boyd, Ancient Faith Publishing.

Testimonial: A Leap of Faith

leap of faith_blog_2016

Several decades ago, when I was raising my children and growing in involvement at my church, disaster struck the parish budget. Our annual Greek festival, without which our parish could not survive, only broke even because of a weekend of torrential rains and high winds. That’s the year we started talking about making the change—the leap of faith, really—to total stewardship. Eventually we decided to go ahead and do it, no longer holding a festival and asking parishioners for stewardship to cover the operating budget.

I was a part of the fledgling stewardship committee, and the discussions we had in the Board room inevitably led to discussions at our kitchen table. When I suggested that our own family take the same leap of faith the church was taking—that is, that we work toward tithing—my spouse resisted, at first. We were people of modest means, raising a large family, how could we possibly afford to tithe? Read More →

The Publican and the Pharisee

Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee: Triodion Begins

PUBLPHAR

As we enter the three weeks of preparation for Great and Holy Lent, the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee are particularly pertinent to the themes of EveryGoodandPerfectGift.org. In this blog, we strive to bring together resources that will inspire Orthodox Christians to greater giving back, especially of their treasure. However, we would do well to remember the Pharisee who gave tithes of all he had, and yet he was not justified. As Christ said in the Gospel of Matthew concerning almsgiving, “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

As we practice the spiritual discipline of giving tithes and offerings, let us learn from the mistake of the Pharisee, who “… in his pride, … has falsified the meaning of true religion and faith. He has reduced these to external observations, measuring his piety by the amount of money he gives.” And, like the Publican, let us humble ourselves before God. “He humbles himself, and his humility justifies him before God. He becomes, in the words of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3), ‘poor in spirit.’ Our preparation for Lent thus begins with a prayer for humility, the beginning of true repentance.”

Quotes taken from the Great Lent resources page, The First Sunday of the Triodion Period: Sunday of The Publican and Pharisee, at goarch.org.

The Gospel of Luke 18:10-14

The Lord said this parable, “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

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The truly rich are not those who keep their riches to themselves but those who give to others. Happiness comes not from possessing wealth but from giving it away. Whatever is generously given away becomes a fruit of the soul. +St. Clement of Alexandria

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