I recently read an excellent perspective on generosity by David Vinland about giving as a way of demonstrating obedience in our walk with God. Here are a few excerpts that impressed my heart.
In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Paul gives a clear call for leaders to disciple their people to live generously. “Give this command to those who are rich with the things of this world. Tell them not to be proud. Tell them to hope in God, not their money. Money cannot be trusted, but God takes care of us richly. He gives us everything to enjoy. Tell those who are rich to do good and to be rich in good works. And tell them they should be happy to give and ready to share. By doing this, they will be saving up a treasure for themselves, which will be a strong foundation on which their future life will be built. They will then be able to have the life that is true life”.
Randy Alcorn says, “It is impossible to become fully developed followers of Jesus without becoming a fully developed steward of our God’s resources.” But what does this kind of disciple-making look like? May I suggest to you generosity in disciple-making involves four key parts:
- Teaching generosity must be taught from scripture and modeled by the pastor and elders. But, generosity teaching that stops here falls short of its potential. It is also critical for teaching to begin at home with our children, reinforced by the church and encouraged by all Christ followers.
- Modeling discipleship requires leaders to model what they teach. Leaders must have a genuine commitment to biblical stewardship, model generosity, share the Word, pray for others to join, and lead by example.
- Inviting: Everything can be done well in teaching and modeling, but that doesn’t assure people will respond. The invitation/challenge must be extended for people to give and be generous. Why are ministry related capital campaigns so successful in raising large amounts of resources? Two reasons:
They are kingdom or vision focused campaigns.
There is a clear, direct invitation for people to give.
There are many ways to offer opportunities in our church to give. We emphasize giving our offerings during the service as an act of worship. We offer giving to Be A Blessing as an opportunity to help those among us who need financial assistance. But giving generously also is an opportunity to actively invite people to give “to the Lord” their money and talents to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to make a difference
- Celebrating: Celebration is an important part of nurturing the spirit of generosity. People want to know “Did my giving make a difference?” And how will they know unless this is communicated? When it’s reinforced that positive outcomes result from giving, there is a stronger understanding of the need, impact, and opportunity to continue to be a part of that impact. Sharing stories of changed lives is a great way to do this.
In all this, it must not be what we want from our church community in giving. It must be about what we really want them to experience in giving as we Purse Jesus and Practice Love together. (1 Timothy 6: 18-19).