By Geoff Ullmann, Wendy Ringo, and Pastor Linda Holbrook
In October we are holding a stewardship campaign. This year’s theme, “Living Generously,” reminds us of the source of our gifts and that giving in one aspect of our relationship and ongoing conversation with God and Jesus. Just as God blesses us, we in turn express our gratitude for those blessings by passing on a share of them to do the work we are called to do as members of the Body of Christ. (1 Peter 4:10)
Stewardship has somehow gotten a bad name and most people think only of money and church budgets when they hear stewardship. However, stewardship is about how we are using all that God has given us. And God has given us a lot. We have talents and skills. God gave us the raw material and we were encouraged to develop those raw talents and skills. God has given us material possessions and we are asked how we will use them.
John Wesley had three plain rules for money: Gain all you can, save all you can, and give all you can. When John Wesley was talking about give all you can, he was talking about the spiritual discipline of generosity. And generosity is intentional.
There’s a difference between charitable giving and Christian stewardship. Charitable giving is a good thing, but it generally comes from the leftovers of our lives and is usually motivated by a specific need or request. Christian stewardship is a disciplined pattern of giving that is motivated by our identity as a child of God and becomes a consistent part of the way we live.
There are several organizations I give to because their work is important to me. Some of these organizations get much more than a check for $25 or $50. For me, the church is not just another organization. The church is a concrete and real part of my identity. This is where the biblical practice of setting aside the first 10% comes in. The spiritual discipline of a tithe is intentional, and it is where I begin my budget planning.
We will focus on stewardship for 3 Sundays (Oct. 10, 17, 24), and on the final Sunday, Oct. 24, we will be asked to turn in a card with what we will commit to give to the church in 2022. Begin now with praying about what you will commit to Morgan Hill UMC in the coming year. I invite you to be generous. And believe it or not, generosity is joyful. Generous people are happy people and stingy people tend to be grouches. If you don’t believe this, check it out.
May this stewardship campaign be a place of spiritual growth for all of us.