October and early November is the time that our congregation, like many others, turns our attention to our plans for the upcoming years. We must plan on how we will carry out the ministries of the Church in 2015. We are dreaming and planning for those ministries right now. However, our dreams and plans will require the resources necessary to carry them into reality, so we must be wise in what we are able to do financially. In order to settle on our plans, we need to know what our congregation will be able to give toward them. That is the very practical reason we have a campaign to solicit giving commitments for the year 2015. Your commitments will be a major part of how your finance committee knows what to approve for a 2015 budget. I figure that is pretty straight forward.
Yet, those practical needs for the administration of our ministries is only one of the reasons that I have always led congregations in annual Stewardship Campaigns. For me, the more important concerns of these campaigns have to do with building up Christians to be “Good Stewards” of what God has entrusted to us for only a little while that we live here on earth. The Bible has a great amount to say on this subject that we all need to hear and heed. I still believe in teaching what the Bible has to say about important aspect of our lives, including what we do with the talents, time and money that are entrusted to us.
I know however, that if we stopped with those two reasons for an annual Stewardship Campaign, that I would have failed you and the larger community that your life could impact.
Ultimately, neither meeting budgets nor even adhering to Biblical mandates and obligations will be effective motivating influences on most people for them to give their money. No. Good Stewardship or maybe I should say, “the Best Stewardship” blossoms in people when we get connected with something much deeper. That something is called “Generosity.”
Generosity isn’t found in the commandments. Generosity is not found in some legalism of tithes. Instead we find it is the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus. First He taught about it in parables like we find in Luke 15 (the loving father) and other teachings on the Good Samaritan, going the 2nd mile, etc. We see it in the way Jesus generously welcomed the children, the lost, the lame, the blind, the castaways, the sinners, and tax collectors, and others. Yet, most clearly we experience the Generosity of God who gave Christ to the world, in the suffering and death of Jesus.
Christian Generosity grows in persons who’ve come to know the amazing generosity of our God and His Son, because as we’ve received His gifts, we have also received into us a great joy for generous giving to others.
Yours for a Generous Spirit,