WELCOME TO CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH – “This is the day the Lord has made”. We join the Psalmist in acknowledging the goodness of our Lord our God, as we not only see His goodness in the beauty of His creation, but even more than that, we know of His goodness in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for joining us as we receive His forgiveness and peace during this hour of worship.

AS WE GATHER: God takes us as we are; He forgives us, makes us His own, and uses us to care, to witness, and to bless. Our Lord called Paul from persecution to mission, and He called Peter from denial to proclamation, and He calls each of us to be His disciples and follow him.

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New Testament Stewardship Standards

      When the topic of Stewardship comes up, the conversation inevitably turns to the question: "how much am I supposed I give?" Answers vary, because the motive behind the questions will also vary. The motive behind asking this question may be for self-justification [even without knowing it]; even though we know that we are saved only by grace through faith, because of Jesus' work on the cross. The problem is, the natural religion of sinful mankind still seeks to earn God's favor.
      Take for example the response of our Lord to the rich young ruler who asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus first tells him to keep the commandments.  The rich young ruler responds by indicating that all this he has kept from his youth [really?].  Jesus goes along with it, and tells him that he lacks one thing: “you must sell all that you have and give it to the poor and then follow Me.” This rich, young ruler, went away sad because he could not part with his possessions. 
      For you and me, we must look to the Bible for our answer to this struggle.  We know and believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  Now we can begin to answer the question, "what should I give?" with the question, "what does the Bible say about how much we should give and to whom?"
      The Old/First Testament is fairly explicit.  The expectation was that the people of God would give a tithe, that is 10 percent, of the first-fruits of their labor to support the full-time ministry of the Levites. This is what the Lord gave Moses to teach the people:  "you shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do." (Deuteronomy 14:22–29)
      This principle of tithing was carried over into the New Testament [in a sense], though it was never explicitly called a “tithe”.  St. Paul teaches the Church at Corinth this: we are to give to the church regularly (1 Cor. 16:1–2), proportionally (1 Cor. 16:1–2; 2 Cor. 8:12), generously (2 Cor. 8:20) of our first fruits (1 Cor. 16:1–2; Gen. 4:4; Prov. 3:9; Lev. 27:30)  with a spirit of eagerness (2 Cor. 9:2),  earnestness (2 Cor. 8:7), cheerfulness (2 Cor. 9:7),  and love (2 Cor. 8:23). 
      This is our New Testament standard. Since Christ became poor for us in order to make us rich in Him – blessing us with the riches of heaven – so we also have been so blessed to follow the example of our Lord and Savior and give completely, 100%  of ourselves, with the work of our hands, to bless others with the same. 
If we have been lax in this, then let us, begin to work toward this goal of regularly giving of a generous proportion of the first-fruits of God's giving to us.
Let us do so not begrudgingly, but for the joy set before us, with a spirit of eagerness, cheerfulness, and love; that we might share the blessings of God with those placed into our care - whomever they may be.