Stewardship 2013

Written by admin on Oct 18, 2013 in Stewardship - No Comments
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Annual Stewardship Campaign Launches in October

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed.” Prov 22:9

What would you see if you looked at the world through generous eyes? You might notice needs that escape other people, or identify places where you alone are capable of giving what is needed. Seeing with generous eyes would color your thinking beyond yourself.

“God, who can I bless in this present situation?”
“What do I have that I could use to make a difference?”
“What is the need here – and what can I do to meet it?”

We need to grow in generosity to support the ministries of the church. To grow in generosity we progress through three levels:

Level 1 – Spontaneous
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.” Psalm 112:1,9

Cultivate a generous eye by practicing. Look for opportunities and act upon them. Spontaneous giving is not a lifestyle commitment; it is a reaction often paired with emotion. See a need and fill it. Give to the homeless man or woman begging at the stop light. Lend a hand where it is needed – on impulse.

We must realize that simply exercising spontaneous giving limits the impact you can have. Why not proceed to the next level of giving?

“The poor don’t know that their function in life is to exercise our generosity.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Level 2 – Strategic
“Generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” Isaiah 32:8

Strategic givers plan ahead. They are intentional givers. They honor their pledges. The pledge is an obligation and they budget with an eye towards fulfilling that obligation. Each year they search for ways to be more generous than the last. Perhaps this year it is in increased action rather than increasing their pledge. They plan for the tithe – whether it is now or eventually – that is the goal. The first part of everything they make belongs to God and they are only returning what is already his. The spontaneous giver reacts to the obvious and immediate need; to the emotion at hand. The strategic giver realizes that giving is not something they do but rather it is who they are; it defines them.

According to John MacArthur, “Generosity is impossible apart from our love of God and of his people. But with such love, generosity not only is possible but inevitable.”

Level 3 – Sacrificial
“This poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all.” Mark 12:43-44

To sacrificial givers the things of this world don’t matter and they live that way. Possessions are tools that God provides for us to enhance his kingdom on earth. Sacrificial giving does NOT mean that you give all and have nothing. Sacrificial givers are God’s stewards and they delight in sharing their wealth. They easily let go because they understand the temporary nature of possessions. People who claim they don’t have enough to give are really saying they don’t have any extra left over to give without drastically altering their lifestyle. Like the widow, however, there is always something you can give, and the less you have, the more your sacrifice means.

Jeremy Taylor said “He who gives what he would as readily throw away gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.”

As we progress through the three levels we discover that the power of money and possessions doesn’t affect us as they once did. Our external perspective is strengthened. Our own needs and our future are no longer a primary source of anxiety.

Where do your giving habits lie? What would it take to step up?

Please join us at the Ingathering and Blessing of the Pledge cards on November 17, 2013.

One last thought from Albert Camus – “Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”

Contributed by Terry Orletsky with thanks to Craig Groeschel and his book Weird.

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