The amount we give is not judged by the largeness of the gifts but the largeness of our hearts. The poor woman who shares her meager pot of stew with another poor woman is far more to be praised than the rich man who throws a few gold coins into a collection at church. But although most Christians acknowledge the truth of this, their words and actions convey a different message. When a rich man makes a large gift to the church, he is heartily thanked; and although he will not feel the lack of that money himself, he is praised for his generosity. When a poor man makes a small gift, nothing is said, even though that gift may cause him to go hungry, no one praises him or thanks him. It would be better to praise no one than to confine our praise to the rich. Better still, we should take trouble to observe every true act of generosity, whether by the rich or the poor, and then offer our praise. Indeed let us be as generous with our praise as people are generous with their money.
St. John Chrysostom from On Living Simply
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.
When I was a young girl, my father would give me money to buy him a Christmas or birthday gift. This is how it is with our Heavenly Father, too. Stewardship is not simply something we give to God. Rather, it is His own gift given back to Him. In the Divine Liturgy the priest says, “We offer these gifts to You from Your own gifts.” This is what stewardship emulates. When we begin to make our Lord a participating member of our lives each day, we are humbled to learn how much more we have to give back.
Read more testimonials here. Share your story here.
There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.
The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there. Read More →
The icon of Pentecost offers powerful reflections on God’s gifts to us. As Christ promised before He ascended, the Holy Spirit is being sent, making the Holy Apostles members of the Risen Lord. We, like they, are called to receive the Holy Spirit and to seek to use the gifts He gives us for God’s glory and for our own salvation. This event occurred on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, when the first-fruits of harvest were brought to the Lord.
Posters of the 12 major feasts are available on the Parish Development webpage at goarch.org.
The rich man is not one who has much but one who gives much. For, what he gives away remains his forever.
St. John Chrysostom
Frequently, parish leadership discusses the challenge: “How can we increase parishioner support for (the parish budget, a new ministry, a building project…)?” We would do well to examine how we ask for funds from stewards, drawing from nonprofit fundraising research and experience in our Orthodox Christian environment.
Don’t forget to ask (personally). The number one reason people give is surprisingly simple: they are asked! From time to time, the call to give may seem “obvious” and may have been broadcast through the bulletin and from the pulpit. But unless a steward is personally asked, ideally in the most individualized way possible, they will not likely take the action of giving. Read More →
As a newlywed, becoming a steward of an Orthodox church for the first time in my adult life, I first asked the question: “How much should we give?” When I put the question to the church office administrator, she knew from experience that what I really meant was, “What do most people give?” Giving at my new parish was on a stewardship model, so there was no minimum or membership fee. I wanted to know what the right amount was for the privilege of attending services and having the priest available for our needs, something like a membership fee to other organizations in our life. But, to be honest, I also didn’t want to give “too much.” Read More →
When 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 →
Each Sunday morning we swing the big wooden doors of Saint George Church open as a welcome, and in doing so, allow the sounds of New York City to serve as a backdrop to our worship. My favorite sound as I face the altar during worship is to hear the clip-clop of the horses pulling the hansom cabs toward Central Park, though they are often drowned out by the sirens from Midtown North Precinct across the street.
Change comes slowly to an old city parish where, during the difficult years of mass exodus from the city, churches struggled to survive. Though once a hub of community activity, many small New York City parishes were forced into survival mode just to keep their doors open. Read More →