Growing Our Faith through Generosity
We are all on a journey of faith; wherever we are on that journey, and no matter how far we have travelled, we are seeking to be Disciples of Christ. To develop and grow in our discipleship we need to be stimulated and challenged in our daily lives by the teachings of the Bible.
Stewardship is a significant part of this growth. But what is this “stewardship” of which we so often speak? We could take a literal definition such as:
The act of taking care of or managing something – for example, property, an organisation, money or valuable objects.
But this does not really go far enough to encapsulate the excitement, energy and sense of possibility that does and should surround the concept of Christian Stewardship. We might all respond differently to the question, “What is Christian stewardship?”, but possible responses might include:
- The regarding of ourselves – our time, talents and money – as a trust from God to be utilised in His service.
- The response which the Church and individuals are called to make to God for all He has given to us and done for us, above all in Jesus Christ.
- The discovery and management of God given gifts and resources for developing his vision for the church, community and individuals.
- The act of organising your life so that God can spend and use you!
- It’s what I do after I say, “I believe”.
So when we are focussing on Christian Stewardship we are thinking, about all God given resources - time and talents and of course, money. We are called to be disciples of Christ, and a significant element of a Christian life is to live generously in all aspects because, “you’re never more like Jesus than when you’re giving” (Pastor Johnny Hunt, First Baptists, Woodstock, USA).
Our ability to give freely is made easier when we acknowledge that everything we have belongs to God. We give of ourselves in all aspects, as an expression of our thankfulness for the rich blessings we have received and continue to receive from God.
The living of a generous life means that, as Christians, we can make a difference in the communities in which we live and work, and indeed in communities further afield:
The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.
William James, Psychologist, 1842-1010
Our faith can be grown through generosity and our giving and generosity grows as we develop in faith. Stewardship, as an area of our discipleship, is something we need to develop as Churches and as individuals; our churches can help individuals grow in a generous faith but individuals can help churches strengthen in this important area of discipleship.
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