Thoughts on Orthodox Stewardship

George Strickland, Ph.D.

Orthodox Christian stewardship is the free and joyous activity of the child of God and God’s family, the Church, in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes.

SEPTEMBER is a time of year when churches resume many of the activities that may have been put on hold during the summer months. It’s a time when planning turns into implementation. That makes it a perfect time to tap into the rich resources that are found in the talents of members and provide them opportunities to put their time and talents to work in the Lord’s kingdom.

As God’s caretakers, Orthodox stewards should care about the government God has entrusted to them. The Scriptures encourage Christians to respect government authority, obey laws, pay taxes, and be influential for good in the context of responsible citizenship [Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13].

When government leaders step out of line, Christians should step in. Our democratic form of government affords Christian stewards of citizenship the privilege to correct what is amiss and support what is good, just and beneficial. Speaking out on a moral issue is especially important.

Some people believe the myth that one person can’t make a difference in a vast, complex world setting. However, one doesn’t have to be a “big gun” to make a cultural, societal, political noise. Remember, it’s the squeaky wheel which gets the grease.

Someone put together a series of one vote decisions that underscore the power of one person:

In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.
In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.
In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency of the United States.
In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1941, one vote put the draft into effect.
In 1960, one vote per precinct in four states gave John F. Kennedy the presidency of the United States.

The next time you think your thoughts or ideas can’t make a difference, remember this “one vote” list.

On November 2 Americans will have the opportunity to go to the voting booth and cast their ballots on many important items, including who will be the next president of the United States. It is part of good Orthodox Christian stewardship and Citizen stewardship to vote and to encourage friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in our realms of contact and influence to vote. It’s a shame that so many American citizens fail to exercise their vote. Make sure you vote and work to influence others to do the same. YOUR ONE VOTE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Orthodox Stewardship”

  1. There’s nothing wrong with Christians voting according to their conscience or beliefs, nor do I see a problem with Christians writing to their representatives to support various political causes.
    Nevertheless, I’d like to see suggestions for “stewardship” that don’t involve some political effort. The best Christian witnesses I know are quiet and unassuming in their political beliefs, yet are overt in their generosity, humility, compassion and capacity to forgive in their dealings with those they come in contact with every day.

  2. James, it is not either/or but both depending on the issue. Anti-slavery for example was both political and non-political.

    I have an article coming out in “Again” magazine in a week or two that discusses this political dimension. Once they publish it, I can post it on the main page.

  3. Who could be a better example of Christian stewardship than the Theotokos?

    It has been said that the most significant action for social change ever is accomplished by the Theotokos: her having given birth to Christ. Christians are called to imitate her and also “give birth to Christ”. Unfortunately, the natural human disposition is to give birth to a multitude of antichrists. However, the Church offers a path of salvation. The lives of the saints show that the pathway of Holy Tradition successfully allows Christ to be bourne over and over again throughout history.

    Certainly the Roman government at the time of Christ’s birth was engaging the worst of human atrocities including abortions, slavery, pedophilia, all types of fornication, murders and wars.
    Where was the voice of Theotokos on all of this? Furthermore, where was Christ’s voice admist all of this?

    When the disciples asked Christ if they should pay their taxes (and therefore financially support these atrocities) He simply said, “give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s”.

  4. Stephen, I see what you are trying to say, but use the correct language. Terminology is important.

    Christ is not born over and over again in history. Christ was born once. The rebirth occurs in people — to those who hear the Gospel of Christ and are baptised. Thus, it would be more accurate to say that Gospel is preached over and over again through history, and the preaching reveals Christ to those who have ears to hear.

    Christ is not “reborn,” people are. Paul says in scripture that Christ must be “born” in us (through the hearing of the Gospel), not that we give birth to Christ.

  5. Devotion to the Theotokos is an important element in any approach to social action. Through her, Christ was Incarnate. At her request, He made Himself known to those beyond His disciples. When we forget her, we are also apt to forget humility and service. Just look at the Akhathist Hymn to the Theotokos to see how often her sacrifice has been the catalyst for profound social and personal change. Devotion to her will help anyone overcome the parochial concerns of party and partisan politics.

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