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Happy New Year! Isn't it great to be able to start all over with a new year! It gives us the opportunity to put the troubles and failures of the past behind us and look forward to a new year with joyful anticipation. This is especially true for us as God’s children.

Jarsoslav Vajda, a noted Lutheran hymn writer, translated these words of a New Year’s hymn (#896 in the new Lutheran Service Book):

Now greet the swiftly changing year
With joy and penitence sincere.
Rejoice! Rejoice! With thanks embrace
Another year of grace.
God, Father, Son, and Spirit, hear!
To all our pleas incline Your ear;
Upon our lives rich blessing trace
In this new year of grace.

As God’s stewards we are reminded that we don’t get a fresh start only on the first day of a new year. Instead we get a fresh start every day knowing that in Christ all that is wrong has been forgiven and with the power of the Holy Spirit we are equipped to move forward in our free and joyous management of all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. What we include in all of life and life’s resources is described by the hymn writer Frances Havergal with these memorable words (#44 in The Lutheran Hymnal):

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all, for Thee.

These verses from that beloved hymn remind us that our whole life is to be dedicated to God so that we use our time, talents and financial resources in ways that bring honor to Him and produce many blessings for those around us.

As we begin this new year let’s remember that we are God’s redeemed stewards who, in cooperation with and encouragement from fellow redeemed stewards, freely and joyfully manage all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes. Let’s consider making this our resolution for 2010: “Maturing stewards do the right things for the right reasons and strive for excellence in all they do.”

Saint John’s Stewardship Board promotes the development of good stewardship and giving patterns among the members of Saint John’s.