Posted: Feb 16
Transforming Generosity - Introduction
Annual Giving,Best Practices,Discipleship & Generosity,Planned Giving,Year Round & Holistic Stewardship
Our theme for 2018 is rich with opportunity for broad conversations about generosity and transformation. In fact, it would be easy to include everything about our Christian faith under this topic.
I’m reminded of a paragraph in Peter Gomes’ book The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus. In the chapter “What Would Jesus Have Me Do?” Gomes writes:
Our situation would be easier if Jesus were less clear about the priorities he sets for us. At the heart of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” “All these things” refers to such things as food, clothing and other fundamental necessities of life, plus security, safety and moral clarity. The priority that Jesus asks us to seek is God’s kingdom, God’s righteousness, the first thing about all else to which we are meant to direct our attention and efforts. That is also the first petition in the pattern of prayer that Jesus taught his followers to say: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done….” We should notice that only after that priority is established are we encouraged to ask for our own needs in the form of daily bread.
How would “generosity” be transformed if we remembered what Jesus is always calling us to do? We are indeed called to establish new priorities for ourselves and our communities of faith.
Too often the annual pledge drive is limited to funding the church’s budget instead of transforming how we look at our calling as Christians. Too often we worry about surviving instead of taking up Jesus’ challenge to us to thrive.
When we establish new priorities for ourselves and for our churches, we transform how we think about generosity. That transformation will call us to look for generosity in every aspect of our work, in every aspect of our lives. Remember the tenth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, “Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’”
Once again, Jesus calls us to look at what Gomes calls “the long view.” Once again, Jesus challenges us to give all of ourselves to God’s righteousness and trust in God’s care.
What a challenge! What transformation!
- This Introduction is also available as a Microsoft Word document