Church encouraged to resist the allure of materialism at Stewardship Congress
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, January 12, 2018
Dr. John Matthews, Stewardship Ministries Director, North American Division (NAD) and author of the current Adventist World Church Adult Sabbath School Lesson shared important stewardship principles with stewardship leaders and Conference Administrators at the first Stewardship Congress for the year on January 7, 2018 at the Hagley Park SDA Church.
The Congress, which was organized by the Stewardship Department of Jamaica Union Conference in collaboration with the East Jamaica Conference Stewardship Department, was held under the theme: Motives of the Heart and saw participants from both East and Central Jamaica Conference in attendance.
In his presentation, Dr. Matthews said it is amazing how much stuff people accumulate in their life time which become worthless the moment they use them. He said many of the stuff we spend money to acquire will be sold or given away the moment we die because our children have little use for them or place little or no value on the things we hold dear to us.
The NAD Stewardship director encouraged the church not be drawn into the seductive allure of materialism which has taken over the world but entreated the church to focus our heart on the things of God for “where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.”.
“I don’t want my identity blended with stuff, I want my identity to be blended with Christ,” he added.
Sharing his philosophy on money and materialism, Dr. Matthews said “Money is the God of this world and materialism is its religion”. He added that “consumerism is the sanctuary we gather to worship in” and that “sex is the mysticism of materialism.”
From the start of the Congress, JAMU Stewardship Director, Pastor Astor Bowers, said the Congress was designed to expose everyone to vital additional information that should bring about further conviction and conversion to the all-important matter of stewardship.
Pastor Vladimir Polanco, Director, Priority Magazines, Inter-America Division Publishing Association (IADPA) spoke to the church on the topic “Circumstances Alter Cases” and went in detail to explain an exceptional case where Ellen G. White used the tithe for a special work under instruction from the Lord but reiterated that as God’s stewards we are obligated to return our tithes to the treasury of the church and that we are not free to do as we like with the tithe as it belongs to the Lord.
Polanco made it clear at the end of his presentation that the tithe is holy unto the Lord and should not be used as people deem fit. Stewardship Director, Inter-America Division, Pastor Roberto Herrara supported his argument with scripture citing that ten percent of one’s income is to be returned into the treasury of the Church and subsequently the Conference.
In attendance from Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) was Executive Secretary, Pastor Meric Walker who brought greeting on behalf of the JAMU Administrators. He was supported by Stewardship Director and Ministerial Secretary, JAMU, Pastor Astor Bowers.
President of Central Jamaica Conference, Pastor Levi Johnson also brought greetings on behalf of his Conference while Pastor Eric Nathan did the same on behalf of East Jamaica Conference Administration. The congress was also attended by all three administrators of EJC as well as Elder Waldon Wright, Stewardship Director, EJC.
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