"Merciful Father, we offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first give us - our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our LORD. Amen."
- From the Lutheran Book of Worship
"Christian stewardship is the practice of the Christian religion. It is neither the department of life nor a sphere of activity. It is the Christian conception of life as a whole, manifested in attitudes and actions."
- W. H. Greever (1937)
We give to the church for multiple reasons
(borrowing from Mark Allan Powell's book "Giving to God"):
1) It is an act of worship -what we serve we worship. By releasing our financial resources to God's work, we proclaim that we serve God.
2) It transforms our confession from words to actions - as we commit our resources to God's work, we live out what we speak out.
3) It shapes us - to quote, "The point isn't that how we spend our money reveals what sort of people we are, but how we spend our money determines what sort of people we become."
4) It's needed - for God's work to be done through this institution, we need to pay for salaries, utilities, supplies, etc. and then to offer our gifts to transform the world - feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, visiting the prisoner (Matthew 25:40)