Stewardship — a way of life!
Did you know? Stewardship has little to do with the needs of the church – but it has everything to do with the needs of us, its members and friends. Stewardship is our joyful response to the gifts God has already given to us – out of God’s Love for each one of us.
Part of being good stewards is supporting our church. But if we give to the church just to have nice facilities and pay for basic costs, we are not examples of “good stewards.” (Did you know that?) Obviously, we have to pay the bills, but we should be giving joyfully through the church so that we, “the faith family” can give life to Jesus’ directive to go into all the world and spread the Good News, be the Good News! The world is our parish! By giving from our abundance, we can begin to make a difference in the world around us – one step at a time.
Nurturing Generous Living – Generosity is a matter of action, intentions and heart. . . It is the grateful outpouring of gifts to others, out of our love for God. Outpouring is a terrific description, since the priceless treasure of the gospel (and all the gifts of covenant, relationship, and life that go with it) comes from God and is meant to be poured out, through our living, upon others. Paul states this directly in 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, when he says, “We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
Whether for fancy purposes or everyday usage, the “unadorned pots of our daily lives” (as The Message puts it) highlight the fact that all of who we are and what we have comes from God and is to be used for God’s purposes. God can use our uniqueness, even our limitations, weaknesses and eccentricities, to communicate God’s powerful presence and love.
Generous living is not just about giving money, or even just about giving. It has to do with the whole of who we are and how we care for our neighbors (see Mark 12:28-31). Each of us brings our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The Old Testament word for “heart” is literally the leaning or thrust of our lives. We might call it our lifestyle or nonverbal witness. In other words, it is how we steward 100 percent of our lives, not just the “religious” sector or the percentage we give away.
So how do we lead stewardship at YUMC? By nurturing generous living in our personal lives and in our life together as part of our congregation and Christ’s interconnected, connectional church.
Nurturing generous living in every aspect of our life together before God — now that’s great stewardship!
This is how Thomas O. Chisolm puts it; writer of the wonderful hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Great is Thy Faithfulness (verse 1)
Words: Thomas O. Chisolm, 1923 (Lamentations 3:22-23)
United Methodist Hymnal #140
Great is thy faithfulness. O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!