How do you answer the question, “Who are you?” Most often we identify ourselves by our relationships—I’m a father or mother, son or daughter, husband or wife—or our profession—I’m a carpenter or teacher or businessperson or work in another of the myriad of professions now available to all.  As believers, our identity is in Jesus.  The Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel, and we believe.  Through God’s gracious gift of Baptism, the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts so that we believe that Jesus is the Son of God Who came to earth to save us from sin, death, and the devil.

Our stewardship emphasis for this year, “Disciples Living as Grace-filled Stewards” focuses on our identity as disciples and stewards.  It is humbling to realize that God has created us and redeemed us through His Son, Jesus, and sustains us, calls us and gives us the privilege of being His disciples and stewards.  The definitions of disciple and steward are different, but the ultimate purpose of both is to serve God by helping all people come to faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Through Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit changes and molds us to be disciples and stewards.  It is not by own power or intellect that we fill these two different roles.  By grace, God enables us to grow in faith and service to Him.  Submitting our will to His, we are led and guided in our service.

Disciple: A disciple is identified as a “follower” and a “learner.”  Just as Jesus called His 12 disciples to follow Him, He calls and chooses us to follow (John 15:16).  A disciple is someone who continually strives to know more about Jesus.  We learn about Jesus as we daily read His Word, attend Bible studies, attend worship services, participate in the Lord’s Table, and spend time in prayer.  Disciples try to make more disciples by helping others grow in Christ.  A disciple says, “Here am I!  Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).

Steward: A steward is a manager of someone else’s property according to the desire and wishes of the owner.  Because God has created and owns all things, we are God’s stewards.  God uses us as His stewards by enabling and equipping us to use our time, talents, and money in ways that help others hear the Gospel.  By His grace, God entrusts us with time to manage wisely so we are available to be used in His service.  In the same way, we are given talents that can be developed so we can be effective in places where we can serve.  God gives us the ability to work and make an income, and we are to manage the money we’ve earned faithfully and responsibly so we can give generously to support ministries that share the Good News and to help those in need.

We pray that God will bless our stewardship emphasis and that He will continually empower us to be used as His tools to help extend His kingdom.