Stewardship of Treasure Prayer
Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess, Grant me the grace to honor you with my substance. Help me to see that I am unworthy of your blessings unless I find some way to share them with others. Bless our efforts as I remember that one day I must give account to you. Grant me the courage and commitment to be faithful in my offerings, thereby presenting myself to you as a faithful steward of all that you give me through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Gifts of Treasure
How we use money says more about our value system than anything we say or do. Some would think that the way we handle our money is a window into our souls. Giving of our treasure is the regular stewardship response of returning to God a portion of the material goods that God has given us. In funding ministry there are three facets of financial stewardship: Sunday Offertory (weekly/monthly gifts of treasure) which fund the normal operation of the parish and its ministries, Extraordinary gifts which involve the special occasions that arise in the life of Christian communities that call us to give beyond our ordinary habit, and Legacy gifts (gifts of assets) which is the way we address the matter of disposing of the accumulations of material goods over our lifetime.
How we value money - hoard it and spend it - defines us.
Who are you becoming?
How Giving and Spiritual Growth are Linked
It is possible that the church has no business raising money if it does not also see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Jesus talked more about money and material possessions in the Bible than any other topic. It is hard not to draw the conclusion that there must be a strong link between money and the nurture of our spiritual lives. Why else would he focus so much of our attention on it? Some would think that the way we handle our money is a window into our souls. Let's look at what the Bible has to say to us.
Everything belongs to God, we are Caretakers
In the beginning ...God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
You are not your own...For you have been purchased with a price.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds.... Psalms 24:1
No matter how hard we have worked or how talented we are, once we start to unwrap where it all came from, we end up at God's front door. We, along with everything in the world (even opportunities), are His creation.
Everything we are and everything we have is a gift. Gratitude can be the only response.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son... John 3:16
Jesus paid the debt for our sins; therefore our lives are built on grace. The primary motivation for giving is gratitude. It is one of the most powerful positive forces in the world. Gratitude is the door to inner peace and wholeness. Gratitude fosters a sense of abundance and therefore frees us to be generous.
God is a Giver... Therefore we are Givers
Riches and glory are from you, and you have dominion over all. In your hand are power and might; it is yours to give greatness and strength to all. Therefore, our God, we give you thanks and we praise the majesty of your name. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should have the means to contribute so freely? For everything is from you, and what we give is what we have from you. 1 Chronicles 29:12-14
We are made in the image of God. He is generous, therefore we are generous. This must be why it feels so good to be helpful and do nice things for others. When we are giving, we are reflecting the likeness of God. It is our basic nature to give of ourselves. The act of clinging to, worrying about, and protecting our worldly things is actually a very restricting and suffocating way to live. Sir Winston Churchill said it this way, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."
Abundance is the Christian way of Life
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied... Matthew 15:36-37
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Matthew 6:25-34
No wonder we get confused and are filled with fear. We live in a culture that is driven by a market economy that needs to create scarcity so it can fill our needs. We receive as many as 5,000 messages daily designed to convince us to spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't even like. Even the poor among us have more than most of the people who have ever lived. Our self-worth is measured by our net worth, but Jesus wants us to live in the opposite frame of mind. How many times in the Bible do we find the words "fear not?" We are, after all, in God's loving care. We must learn to think, "I am rich, I have enough, I have more than I need, and I choose not to focus my life on unnecessary things."
Giving is a Witness to our Faith
Raising money for the church is an opportunity for spiritual experiences and learning about our relationship with God and our "things." Our free will offering can be our most tangible witness to the world of our love for God. The Christian witness is very clear and has been consistent down through the ages. God is good, trustworthy, and will care for us. God knows our every need and is faithful. We receive by giving. Giving is a way to step out in faith and see the hand of God in our lives.
3 Ways to Give