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“Well done good and faithful servant” comes from the Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30) It is spoken to the two servant who were entrusted to invest large sums of their master’s money while he was on a long journey. When the master returned, he discovered that these two servants had wisely invested what he had entrusted to them. “His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'” (Matthew 25:21 & 23)

I have chosen “Well done Good and Faithful Servant” as the theme of this year’s stewardship campaign. It is exactly what I want to express to the members and friends of Holy Cross in regards to their good and faithful stewardship of what God has entrusted to us, especially in the midst of this global pandemic. Our last worship service in the building was on March 15. If you had asked me back then how I thought Holy Cross would be doing if we were still out of the building at the end of September, with no specific end in sight, I fear I might have been rather pessimistic.

This is one time I’m very happy to have been so wrong! There has been nothing to be pessimistic about regarding Holy Cross’ stewardship during this unprecedented and difficult time. Support groups along with calling, letter writing and prayer teams were quickly formed. We figured out how to worship both online and in our parking lot. We found ways to “gather” online. We transformed our Food Pantry from a grocery store format to a drive-thru format without missing a single distribution. We have also financially supported the mission and ministries of our congregations in ways I would not have imagined.

Even though we began the month of March, the month the pandemic began, with a $4,000 deficit, we have ended the month of August with a mere $900 deficit. (The average deficit for the end of August over the last three years was $7,500.) We have not started out the final quarter of the year in such a strong financial position since 2010. The overwhelming generosity of the friends and members of Holy Cross has gone beyond our General Fund giving. We experienced increased giving compared to last year in our Lenten offerings (which supported Omaha Campus Ministries, Habitat for Humanity and Youth Emergency Services), our fund raiser for Habitat for Humanity, and our Food Pantry. Well done good and faithful stewards!

The word “steward” isn’t used much in our daily lives. The most common usage that comes to mind is what we used to call flight attendants: stewards and stewardesses. It would serve us well to reclaim a more biblical understanding of the word “steward.” In the Bible, a steward is a person given responsibility to care for something of value, something one treasures, something worth preserving.

As stated above, I have been overwhelmed by how well the members and friends of Holy Cross have cared for and preserved that which we treasure so highly, the mission and ministries God has entrusted to us. Times of crisis, like a global pandemic, can bring out the worst or the best in people. Crises can lead to hoarding or helping, cursing or caring, gathering or giving, terror or trusting, fearfulness or faithfulness. I give thanks to God for working in and through our faith community in ways that have brought out the best in all of us.

What happens next? That is the unanswerable question we find ourselves asking about so many things. When will we get back inside for worship? When can we gather for Sunday School, choir, Adult Forum, Circles or just to sit around a table and talk to each other? When will worship get completely back to normal? While none of us know the answers to any of those questions, there is at least one very important question we can answer. Will we continue to be faithful stewards of what God has entrusted to us? This includes both our own individual time, treasures and talents; along with our shared responsibility of the mission and ministries of Holy Cross Lutheran Church?

As this pandemic drags on with no specific end in sight, it may grow increasingly tempting to turn inward. We may begin to lose sight of all the people whose lives are touched by the work we do together as a congregation. Compassion fatigue, the emotional and physical exhaustion which leads to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others, may begin to set in. However, based upon how God has worked in us and through us these past six months and how we have responded to God’s call to be faithful stewards, I refuse to be anything but hopeful.

Throughout the month of October, we will be reminded of God’s faithfulness to us and God’s call for us to respond by being the faithful stewards we were created to be. On October 18, Consecration Sunday, we will once again have the opportunity to present our Estimate of Giving cards for the upcoming year as an act of worship. We will not be distributing Estimate of Giving Cards during worship as we typically do. You can download your Estimate of Giving Card at the end of this article, or there will be a card attached with the bulletin email for worship on October 18.

The other significant change this year, this time unrelated to Covid, is how to manage automatic withdraws. We are currently using Simply Giving for automatic withdraws. We will now begin to transition over to There are two significant differences between Simply Giving and The first is that allows withdraws to be set up through a credit card or a bank account. Simply Giving only did withdraws through bank accounts. The second difference is that with, you are in complete control of your automatic withdraws. Instead of completing and turning in a Simply Giving form and having our Financial Secretary enter the information, you will do that yourself. You will also be able to change or cancel your automated withdraws yourself, anytime you would like to.

If you are currently using Simply Giving, CLICK HERE to learn how to switch to

If you are not currently using Simply Giving, but would like to begin automated withdraws through, CLICK HERE.

Below please find some stewardship questions and answers.


Pastor Jim

  • What is a tithe? A tithe is the Biblical practice of giving the first 10 percent of what we earn back to God for the work of God’s church. Tithing is an expression of both your thankfulness to God and your desire to invest in God's work in the world. Tithing focuses on “first fruit” or proportional giving. For some, tithing is a very difficult goal. For others, it is the starting point of their giving. No matter what you are giving now, you can work toward the goal of biblical tithing. To work toward this goal, begin by determining what percentage of your income you are currently giving to God through your offerings. Once you know your current percentage, increase it by one or two percentage points each year until you reach a tithe. For example, if you now give 3 percent of your income, consider increasing your offering to 4 or 5 percent in the coming year. Our prayer is that everyone will grow in his or her faith through giving financially to the ministries of the church and experience the joy and blessings that come from financial generosity. (See the chart included with the Estimate of Giving Cards to help calculate your giving percentage.
  • Why do I need to return an Estimate of Giving card? There are two reasons why it is important that every member of our church family return an Estimate of Giving Card. First, the process of prayerfully asking God to guide your decision and then making a commitment to serve the Lord with your financial gifts is an act of worship, an expression of gratitude and praise to God. Second, on a very practical note, your commitment allows our church to budget and better plan for our mission and ministries.
  • What if financial hardship prohibits me from making a commitment this year? First, and most importantly, don't let your inability to give at this time keep you from worshiping or participating at Holy Cross. God does not keep records, and your acceptance at Holy Cross has absolutely nothing to do with your capacity to give. We ask that everyone return an Estimate of Giving card even if it is a limited financial commitment at this time. Even committing to $1.00 a week is a way of expressing your joy in generosity. You can always increase or decrease your commitment throughout the year if your financial situation changes.
  • Why do I need to turn in a new commitment card each year? Financial situations change from year to year, and if we are growing in our faith, our annual commitment should likewise reflect that giving growth. Each year, our church budget is based upon the growing commitments of our congregation.
  • Why should I consider using automatic withdraws through (Electronic Funds Transfer)? Setting up automatic withdraws through, from a credit card or a bank account, transfers your offering to Holy Cross in a consistent manner. You don’t have to worry about writing checks or keeping track of offering envelopes. Automatic withdraws reinforce your commitment to give your tithes and offerings to God first, before anything else.
  • When will Estimate of Giving Cards be dedicated? This year, we will receive and dedicate Estimate of Giving Cards during worship on Consecration Sunday, October 18.