In the monthly West Side UMC Stewardship newsletter, we have been looking at the twelve qualities of the Christian steward as presented by Rev. Phillis M. Bowers in the booklet, Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation: Stewardship. The next quality, which is appropriate in the midst of Advent/Christmas and as we begin the new year, is generosity.
A Christian steward is generous. Christian stewards give whatever is needed and whenever it is needed (Proverbs 11.24-29; Mark 10.17-22; Luke 12.13-21; 2 Corinthians 8.1-15; 2 Corinthians 9.6-15; Galatians 5.22-23; 1 Timothy 6.17-19).
They voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints (2 Corinthians 8.3-4). In this passage the Apostle Paul is speaking of the Macedonian Churches. He states that they are poor, but yet they desperately wanted to give to the ministry of the Lord. What a beautiful picture of generosity!
What enabled them to give in such a way? Paul goes on to say, “they gave themselves first to the Lord.” The only way we can have generous hearts is if we first give our hearts to the Lord. The only way we can see God’s will, and to have a desire to be a part of God’s work in this world is to give ourselves to the Lord.
And so as we present our gifts to God, we give him our hearts. As we first give him our hearts, he enables us to give generous gifts. He stirs up in us a desire to desperately want to share in the ministry and work of the church through our financial gifts.
It is my prayer that as we enter this new year, we will once again commit our whole lives to Christ!