November 2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

This month’s TLO Disciple theme is Stewardship. God cares about the creation that He has made. In Genesis God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).  God told Adam and Eve to work in the garden and keep it. Looking after God’s creation is still our calling. As God’s servants we have been entrusted to care for all that he has created.

The Explanation to Luther’s Small Catechism lists some of these responsibilities.

·        We are to care for our bodies that God himself owns, for you were bought for a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

·        We are to care for our possessions and finances (Prov. 10:4-5).

·        We are to care for our neighbors, in their physical needs and that they know God and that salvation is in Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:6; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

·        We are to care for the church, church workers, and church property (1 Chronicles 29:12-13, 16); 1 Tim. 5:17-18).

·        We are to care for the rest of creation, the earth, it’s bounty, and all life (Gen. 2:!5); Prov. 12:10).

Therefore, let us pray,

Heavenly Father, out of Your fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, You have created me and endowed me with all that I have in this body and life, and You continue to defend me from all danger and guard and protect me from all evil. Receive now my thanks and praise for all Your gifts, and shape my life to serve and obey You in the callings You have given me; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen. (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, (CPH, 2017, p. 163).

Pastor James L Kroonblawd

“We Are All Beggars”

LCMS Stewardship Ministry

In the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 1546, Martin Luther closed his eyes forever. Before that happened, the hand that hammered the 95 Theses into the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on Oct. 31, 1517, penned its final words: “We are all beggars. This is true.” And this is the truth that our Lord says makes you free.

Ironic, isn’t it? In order to be free, you must be a beggar. You must be utterly dependent and reliant upon God. This makes us uncomfortable – the way we’re uncomfortable when someone gets us a Christmas present when we haven’t gotten them one. We feel we owe them. And we don’t like being in someone’s debt like that.

But what Luther would remind us is that we are all indeed beggars. And we’re not just anyone’s beggars. We’re God’s beggars. Christ came for sinners. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to heal the sick and raise the dead. He came for sinners, and He dwells only with sinners.

We are beggars of Him who deigns to dwell with us, among us, and – yes – still in us by grace for Christ’s sake. For in the bread and cup that we bless we share together with Christ and each other the riches of God’s grace. The riches of this grace – the Gospel in sermon and absolution, in Baptism, and in Holy Communion – are so inexhaustible that our cups overflow. We, who are God’s beggars, are inexhaustibly satisfied, and we have something to give back in thanksgiving and praise.


By Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1894

This art piece shows an older gentleman with (perhaps) his grandson praying before a meal. In their impoverished state, they have their heads bowed in a dignified pose as they participate in a common daily ritual. It is a simple, yet effective display of two devoted subjects giving thanks for that which they do possess.

Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937. Thankful, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved October 28, 2022]. Original source:,_1894._Henry_Ossawa_Tanner.jpg.

From God's Word

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Ro.12:1.

Stewardship and Vocation

Rev. H. R. Curtis, Coordinator, LCMS Stewardship Ministry

Copyright © 2013

Christian stewardship begins with the understanding that all we have is God's (Psa. 24:1) and that "we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world" (1Tim 6:7). Since all we have is God's, we should use it for His purposes. God's purpose for us in our lives is expressed in the various vocations, or callings, that we have. Each vocation makes a claim on each part of our lives, including our income. Besides the vocations that each of us have in our family life and under the government, we are also all Christians and members of this parish. How do we use our income faithfully in regard to this vocation? To learn this we must look to God's Word.

From God's Word

“The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…” Psalm 24:1.

The Lord Gives. Christians Manage.

May 2, 2011 

by Jerald C. Wulf

Why do we give to the church? Is it because it makes us feel good or because everything we have is the Lord’s?

It is important for Christians to acknowledge that God is the creator—and owner—of everything. If you do not believe this important truth, read Job 41:11, wherein God, as He is talking to Job, lays claim to all of creation. Or read Ps. 24:1, where the Psalmist acknowledges God’s ownership of not only the world, but all who dwell therein.

Christians must realize that they are merely stewards, not owners, of the bounty that our God has bestowed and continues to bestow on us. The Lord gives. Christians merely manage. Only when this basic truth is understood can Christian giving occur.

The most important element of Christian giving is trust. Read more

So What Do I Do Now? (Part 1)

Rev. H. R. Curtis, Coordinator, LCMS Stewardship Ministry

Copyright © 2013

What follows is some practical advice on how to follow the guidelines from Scripture and Faithfully Give a Voluntary, Generous First Fruits Proportion of your income.

1. Receive God's gifts. If you have not been faithfully attending worship to hear God's Word, receive His forgiveness, and partake of His body and blood for the eternal benefit of your soul, then by all means repent and come receive the gifts of our Lord Jesus! God does not want your money – He wants you, all of you.

2. Pray. Go to the throne of grace and ask for strength to follow the Lord faithfully.

3. Consider what the Church does. The Church is called to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel to all who will hear it and administering the Sacraments to the faithful. You are a part of God's Church on earth. This is your mission and the mission is for the life of the world – that for which Jesus laid down His life and took it up again. The Church cannot complete its mission unless all members of the Church, those who have benefited from the Church's mission, faithfully support the Church.

4. Examine yourself. Consider the commands of God from the New Testament about supporting the work of the Church and examine your own giving. Are you:

·        giving of your first fruits – that is, does your offering come out of your paycheck first, not just what's left over;

·        giving voluntarily and cheerfully;

·        giving systematically and proportionally in a generous way, that is, at least a tithe;

·        relying on God's promise to provide for you?

If not, then repent and trust in God's provision; for God gave the life of His Son on the cross to forgive you all your sins – He will certainly not abandon you in your physical needs. Trust His Word and heed it.

5. Decide on your proportion. Now you are ready to consider what proportion of your income you will give faithfully, proportionally, generously, and cheerfully. The Biblical proportion of a tithe (10%) also makes for easy math: just move the decimal point and that's your offering for the week.

Save the offering

April 10, 2019 

by Tom Raabe

Cash is in society’s ICU. And its cousin, personal checking, isn’t feeling too well, either.

It seems Western culture is moving rapidly away from these putatively primeval means of financial exchange and toward online transactions and the use of cards, credit or debit, or applications on smart phones. That puts an old favorite of the Christian worship tradition — the offering plate — on the sick list, too. What's to be done?

From God's Word

Jesus said, "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Luke 16:13 

Dancing with Joy

September 7, 2008

by Susan Senechal

Stepping off the plane at the start of our African mission trip, I had visions of taking a side excursion, a genuine safari. After all, we had a free day to get acclimated, and my friend, who had taken this trip six months earlier, had used her free day to go on a safari.

But disappointment was my lot. I was told our group wouldn’t be going to the nearby reserve this time. Somehow, I felt cheated out of part of my experience. “Who goes to Kenya without going on safari?” I wondered.

In our worship service that night, I learned that the Swahili word safari actually means “journey,” not “animal hunt” as I had always supposed. That night, unable to sleep, I felt as though God spoke gently into my heart. “Susan,” He seemed to say, “this isn’t about seeing animals in Africa; this is a safari to see Me, to journey beside Me.”

What happens to Susan? Click here to find out!

From God's Word

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

So What Do I Do Now? (Part 2)

Rev. H. R. Curtis, Coordinator, LCMS Stewardship Ministry

Copyright © 2013

From this we can see the following 4 principles for New Testament giving:

1. Voluntarily and Cheerfully. Giving must be done voluntarily, not under compulsion, and cheerfully, not grudgingly.

2. First Fruits. Giving should be from the first fruits of our labor. Our giving is what we do on the first day of the week before our other expenses come due.

3. Proportionally. Giving is to be proportional, "as each one of you may prosper." Giving is not to be an arbitrarily set dollar amount each week, but rather is to be in accordance with how God has prospered us each week. Thus, each of us should consciously and intentionally determine to set aside a certain proportion (percentage) of our income for Christ’s Church each week.

4. Faithfully. God graciously promises to give us all that we need for this body and life. Therefore, we should give in faith, trusting that God will provide for all our needs – though not necessarily our wants! After all, if we can trust the Lord with our eternal salvation, can we not trust Him to provide our daily bread? Therefore, in the New Testament God invites us to give each week in accordance with how we have prospered.

From God's Word

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’" Hebrews 13:5

Faithful Tithers

January 1, 2007

by Randy Schroeder

The concept of tithing (giving 10 percent) was demanded in the Old Testament. This dictum, however, is no longer binding. Giving our offering out of a sense of duty, or as “proof” of faithfulness, will only result in feeling burdened and guilty, if we “fail” to give.

Although tithing is a healthy guideline, the percentage of our income we offer is not really the issue. Rather, the issue is what is found in the heart of the giver. Jesus made this point as he observed the widow putting in her offering, which, in comparison with others, was meager, yet elicited His highest praise because of the sheer trust and thanks with which she gave (Luke 21:1-4).

Read the whole article

A Gift to the Future

LCMS Foundation

Imagine a future in which your God-given gifts continue to benefit your family and faith after you’re called home to Heaven. With a charitable estate plan, your assets—things like retirement accounts, your home or land—will leave a positive, lasting impact upon the people you love, but also the congregation or ministries you care about most.

Many people don’t believe they have the wealth to leave a significant bequest to their congregation, or to create an endowment for their LCMS school. Gift plans are for everyone, as we all possess gifts from God, and even the humblest gifts can make a positive impact. Connect to LCMS Foundation

LCMS Foundation -- ready to help YOU!

From God's Word

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you? ’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:8-10

Stewardship Under the Cross Do I have to Tithe?

Rev. H. R. Curtis Coordinator, LCMS Stewardship Ministry

Copyright © 2013 H. R. Curtis, used by permission

That is an interesting question: do we have to tithe under the New Testament? After all, tithing, that is, giving 10% of our income to God's work in the Church, is a regulation of the Old Testament. We live under Christ in the New Testament so does this apply to us today? Click to find the answer!

From God's Word

 “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as each one of you may prosper.” 1 Corinthians 16:2

O give thanks to the Lord

November 26, 2019 

by David H. Petersen 

At the popular level, in a semi-secular sense, an American Thanksgiving is meant to remind us that we are dependent upon God, or something like God. Ingratitude is distasteful. Instead, therefore, Americans should be thankful to something for body and soul, eyes, ears, and all the stuff needed for earthly life. It is the duty of all decent people to be thankful….

Is there more to it? Read on!

Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121