Beryl Jantzi is the director of Stewardship Education for Everence. This is the third in a series of posts based on the book Contagious Generosity by Chris Willard and Jim Sheppard.
“True giving does not so much subtract from what we have as multiply the impact we can have on the world.” – Kent Newburn
Generosity surprises and moves people – especially if they are the recipients of someone else’s actions. If Christians are made in the image of God, generosity should be one of those attributes that sets us apart – but is it? Christians on the whole only give away about 2.5 percent of their income. I find this sobering.
What is it that inhibits giving?
Is it fear that we don’t have enough to share or is it complacency in our thinking that that the world’s problems are so big that my little bit won’t make a difference? While we may not be able to change the entire world we can certainly make a world of difference in one other person’s life through our generosity.
As much as we try to be careful in how we live and the money we spend maybe there are times to be a bit more reckless in the way we give. Reckless in the sense that we give as we see the needs of others and feel compelled by God to do what we can with what God has given us to manage.
Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, has said, “Generosity is something we want for you, not from you.”
- As leaders do we believe that it is a biblical mandate to be a generous people?
- And if so, do we believe that we are called to take risks for the Kingdom?
- And if so, do we believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive?
Being silent about our relationship with money sends a message that discipleship includes all aspects of our life – except money.
And we know this isn’t true. In the center of the Sermon on the Mount there are three key texts that address our relationship with money (Matthew 6: 1-4, 19-21 and 24). If you follow the lectionary in your preaching, every one in seven Sundays there are texts listed that address some aspect of stewardship or money.
Finally, you don’t have to have it all together yourself to speak to what the Bible says on this – or any other issue. We always preach to what we aspire to not to what we have achieved.
So take the risk and call your people to faithfulness in all aspects of their life – including financial faithfulness.
For preaching ideas on money and possessions go to http://www.everence.com/stewardshipeducation
Contact Beryl Jantzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.