Pastor Matthew Finney
Pastor Matthew Finney was unanimously installed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Sassamansville on Aug. 7 as the 21st pastor. Before receiving the call at St. Paul’s, Pastor Finney served a two-point parish in Western Pennsylvania known as Holy Shepherd Lutheran Parish which was a combination of Holy Trinity Parish in Lanse and Shepherd of the Hills Parish in Karthaus.
Pastor Finney brings many gifts to St. Paul’s. He received his master of divinity at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2010. He also has a master of science degree in 2003 from North Carolina State University and a bachelor of science degree in 2000 from Purdue University both in agricultural science.
Pastor’s May Message
The earth is the LORD’S and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. -Romans 12:1
These verses listed above are used frequently to talk about stewardship in the church. They remind us that everything we have, and indeed everything there is, ultimately comes from God. What we do with everything that God has given to us, our lives, matters in our relationship with God and our relation to the world. Biblical stewardship is about taking the steps in our life to relate to God in the way that is best for us. Too often when we hear the word ‘stewardship‘we think ‘money,’ but real stewardship is about more than just money; it is about our whole lives, our time, our talents, and our treasures.
One of the themes of stewardship in the scriptures is to give to God first. In the Old Testament the Israelites were to give their first and best of what they produced as an offering to God. This not only serves as a reminder of the importance of God, but also that God is the one who entrusted those offerings to them in the first place. More important than these aspects though, is that giving to God first reminded them of the necessity of trusting God. God was not to receive the leftovers and surplus, but the first and best, and doing that requires taking a leap of faith.
How many of us can honestly say we give the first and best of our lives to God, time, talents, and treasures? How easy is it to push God aside when there are so many ‘important’ things asking for our time and resources? Let’s think about one aspect of stewardship in our lives, perhaps the most stressed aspect in today’s world, our time. Let’s say you are awake and active for 100 hours a week (that gives plenty of time for sleep, getting ready for the day, etc.), now let’s say you dedicated 10% of that time to God. That is 10 hours of your week dedicated specifically to God. How might such an offering of your life back to the God who gave it to you change the way you view the other hours of you week? Gathering with your brothers and sisters in Christ to worship that uses an hour (give or take), Sunday school, there is another hour, which leaves eight hours a week to dedicate to God. Reading the Bible, prayer, volunteering in the church or community, these are all great ways to give your time back to God. Be on the lookout for new ways to give your time back to God, and see how being intentional about doing so for 10 hours changes the other hours of the week.