Stewardship is not just a way of life; it is a good way of life. In fact, for many, it is a way to a better life. Stewardship means belonging to God. It means allowing God to rule our lives, putting God in charge of everything, including our time and our money. Surrendering control does not come easily to any of us. But God is good at ruling people’s lives. If we really do belong to God and if we really do put God in charge of everything, we will not be the worse for it.
“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
I Peter 4:10
For me, this is one of the most powerful passages of scripture that really gets at the core of what Stewardship should be. Did you know, however, that this verse never comes up in the Revised Common Lectionary, and many of us follow the lectionary for our preaching?
For many of us, our earliest memories of giving occurred in church. We watched our parents put their offering envelope in the plate, and we looked forward to getting something from them that we could also add to the plate. So how are we teaching our children stewardship and the joy of being generous?
In their recent book, The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson claim that generosity is a practice, not a “haphazard behavior but a basic orientation to life.” In Galatians and Ephesians, Paul talks about generosity as a virtue, a habit of the heart, and a character trait. Generosity as both virtue and practice connects attitude to action.
“It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
(I Corinthians 4:2)
How We Regard Money
When we are faithful stewards, we regard our money in God-pleasing ways. The Bible encourages us to take a positive attitude toward our possessions.
dgenerosityThese hot and hazy days of summer will soon be gone, and one of the busiest times of the church year is just around the corner. All of the fall programming returns, new Ruling Elders are trained and ordained, and preparing the budget for the coming year looms in front of us.
letr1 – Stewardship is a Year-Long Ministry
Every Sunday is an opportunity to preach and teach about stewardship. Seize that opportunity whenever you can. Listen for God’s messages on Stewardship in the scriptures. One good Stewardship sermon in the fall during the annual stewardship campaign is not enough. Think about the people who might miss that Sunday or even avoid that sermon.