Stewardship: the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something (Merriam-Webster Dictionary), or the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving (Dictionary.com). In the church, we tend to immediately associate the word stewardship with tithing and often think of it in monetary terms. We put the gifts of “time” and “talent” on shorter pedestals that don’t quite match up to the gift of “treasure.” But the definitions above have nothing to do with money but have everything to do with protecting something that is held to be important.
In 1943, sisters Herkie Baumann, at age 9, and Kathy Eltermann, at age 7, entered the Christ Church Children’s Choir. Not only did they audition for it but they had to get past the waiting list of children hoping to get in! They sang in the back of the chapel, in their allotted choir pews, for the children’s services that took place at the same time as the service in the main sanctuary. When they grew older they graduated to the Junior Choir and eventually the Christ Church Choir. Now in 2014, this is the first program year since 1943 that a Christ Church choir does not have one of the sisters singing in it. That is 70 years of incredible stewardship of the musical gift that God has given to them. Their stewardship is far more valuable than monetary donation. This is “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving;” this is sharing the talent of a beautiful voice by returning that gift back to God through the ministry of music. As Kathy put it, “If God gave you a gift, it’s up to you to use it. [Singing] was something you had to do because you were given the ability.” This is true stewardship.
We have all been given “talents” by God. How can you use yours in a way that will benefit His kingdom? As the definition mentions, our stewardship is to oversee something worth preserving. We have nothing more valuable and precious than the love of God that was shown to us on the cross at Calvary. It is our calling to share this good news through the various ministries of the church using the gifts that God has given us. We may not be able to proclaim the message of salvation through song for 70 years, but we all have means by which we can help Christ Church proclaim the mystery of faith, the triumph of the cross, and the unfathomable love of God.
In Luther’s explanation of the First Article of the Creed, he lists the abundance of provisions that God gives to us and states that in return we “owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.” Herkie and Kathy did this through music for 70 years and now they do it through other talents. They used their musical gifts in thanks and praise by serving the One that gave it to them in the first place. In return for your great blessings, how will you steward what you have been given and serve God at Christ Church?
Soli Deo Gloria!