June 15, 2015
As the seminary explores stewardship and 1 Peter 4:10, I am reminded of my time as a local church pastor. During those years, I preached about stewardship nearly every Sunday. However, in those 30 years, only a few of those sermons focused on the stewardship of one’s finances. Most, instead, called us as a church family to consider how we might serve God, the Church, and our community with all of the resources that God entrusted to us.
Stewardship is about the wise use of God-given resources to bless the world and serve the Kingdom of God. Sioux Falls Seminary is blessed through the faithful stewardship of many volunteers who share their time and talent to help us live out our kingdom calling. Below are three examples of how the lives of seminary students and community members have been blessed by volunteers who use whatever gifts they have received to honor God.
Eldon, Susan, and Jonathon Olthoff
Several times each year, the refrigerator in the seminary’s food pantry is filled with farm fresh eggs, compliments of Eldon and Susan Olthoff and their son Jonathon. The Olthoffs are members of First Baptist Church in Emery, South Dakota, and have a long family history of supporting the seminary. There is always a sense of excitement among the students when word gets out about the arrival of a fresh supply of eggs. For the Olthoffs, stewardship involves “the responsible management of all that God has given” them.
Daphne Dunger, former North American Baptist missionary and volunteer at the seminary and the North American Baptist Heritage Commission feels that the Great Commandment has been the “bedrock” of her faith walk. For Dunger, stewardship includes giving of her time while listening to and interceding for others, lending a helping hand in tasks and projects, and using her artistic abilities to help people find the Lord.
Students at Sioux Falls Seminary often frequent the food pantry. Gifts from generous donors make it possible for the seminary to provide groceries and supplies to students at no cost. About once a month, Karla Tschetter, seminary volunteer, stocks the pantry with everything from frozen hamburger to canned tuna to candy bars. For her, stewardship can be something as simple as helping a person unload their grocery cart, opening a door for someone, or greeting a stranger.
As 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Volunteers at Sioux Falls Seminary join us as we boldly follow God into mission. Although their tasks are varied, they enable us to develop servants for their participation in the kingdom mission.
“I know that it is often easier to just write a check, but I have found that I get the most out of the blessing when I actually do something to help others,” Tschetter shared. “Nothing we have is ours. All that we have is a gift from God, and we have the opportunity to share it for his kingdom. That’s what stewardship is about for me.”