Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

Stewardship of Money

from May 21, 2007

It may seem early to be talking about financial stewardship, but the reality is, most churches start way to late. A month before the annual stewardship drive often only keeps the focus on raising money. The reality is, money is a tool, not an end. And our view about money and giving has more to say about our faith than most anything else. Why? We all probably know people who say they give their time and efforts and not much money because they just don’t have much to give. And while that may be true, what often lies behind that comment is that “I am afraid that if I give to the church, I won’t have enough for … (vacation, food, retirement, etc.)

For myself, I often ask, how much do I really let Christ be Lord, if I am not willing to risk my money for him? Or, do I trust God with my life, but not my retirement?

Stewardship is not about raising money for next year’s budget, it is about how we live our lives, how we use our resources, and, deep down, about our relationship with God. A good focus on year-round stewardship will address all of those things, it will remind us of God’s provision, it will remind us that our giving is a faithful response to what God has done for us, and it will show us concretely that what we give in faith bears many different kinds of fruit.

On that last note, in the transformational story below, a pastor tells how she shares that fruitfulness with her congregation. Why don’t you read that, and then try it? And here’s the hard part – end with the thank you. Don’t add on “and please give generously” or anything like that. In our stewardship campaigns we often try to find many different ways to say “please give more,” but we neglect to say thank you. When we say thank you, we are really saying “thank you for participating in God’s work in the world – we couldn’t have done it without you.” I don’t know about you, but when someone says “thank you” without any ulterior motives, that’s when I know my giving is a sign of something bigger than me.

There’s a lot more I could say, but I won’t 🙂 Let me just encourage you to think about transformation, not only in terms of transforming the church into a growing, healthy congregation, but in terms of transforming people’s understanding of financial stewardship into a way to fulfill Christ’s call to serve him as Lord, and to share him as Savior with the world

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