Stewardship. What do you think of when you see that word? Many of us think immediately of money. We recall that time in our congregation’s life when we are asked to make a financial commitment for the coming year. At some level, however, we are aware that stewardship is more that money. Stewardship is how we live out our calling as followers of Christ. Stewardship is what we do after we say that we believe.
Stewardship is how we use our God-given gifts; it is how we use our talents, our time, and our treasure. These are very familiar words, yet they carry a ring of truth. Stewardship is the way we use all our resources to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world.
A Time to Prepare
In 2nd Corinthians 9:7, God’s Word encourages us, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Among other things, we learn here that stewardship (i.e. how we use whatever resources God has placed into our hands) is an intentional discipline, one that requires careful reflection, prayer, and even study. In preparation for Stewardship Commitment Sunday, we urge you to do exactly that by spending a few minutes each day this week reflecting on the rest of this beautiful passage in 2nd Corinthians. AS you approach the text each day, do so with the anticipation of hearing Christ speak to you through his Word and ready, in faith, to follow wherever he leads. Each day you will read the verses you’ve already covered in previous days along with a few new ones.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Step 1 – Begin by setting aside a few minutes where you can give your attention to God’s Word. You can do this alone or with others in your family, including your children. (Parents, we have a special note for you below.)
- Step 2 – Begin with a simple prayer asking God to reveal himself to you through his Word.
- Step 3 – Read through the assigned verses for the day. Read them several times. Listen for a thought, a phrase, an image, or an idea that grabs your attention and receive it as God’s Word to you.
- Step 4 – Eventually, ask what God could be saying to you here. Ask, “What are you trying to teach me, Lord? How do you want me to think or act differently in life? What is the good news you have for me here? How does your Word here lead me to confess or give thanks?” Write down whatever message you receive.
- Step 5 – Pray. Respond to what God has just said to you in whatever way seems fitting – either praise, confession, thanksgiving, or requests.
If you were not in worship on Sunday we encourage you to go online to www.faithpresby.org and listen to or read Jeff’s sermon from this text which was preached at that time. It will provide a good foundation for your further reflection on this passage this week.
Monday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-6
Remember that Paul is writing the church in Corinth seeking their generous support of the church in Jerusalem which was in the midst of desperate circumstances. He’s using the church of Macedonia as a model of generosity in hopes of inspiring the Christians in Corinth towards a similar response.
Tuesday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-7 (focusing on verse 8:7)
Generous stewardship is just one of the ways we grow in Christ-likeness. Imagine if you were to become as generous as Jesus is generous.
Wednesday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-9 (focusing on verses 8:8-9)
Why do we give? Is it not love which compels us to give? We give because of what we have been given. We give because we cannot help but give. We give because the sight of a soul in need wakens in us a desire that cannot be silenced or stilled.
Thursday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-9 and 9:6 (focusing on verse 9:6)
Think like a farmer today. Seed unsowed is good only for bird food.
Friday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-9 and 9:6-7 (focusing on verse 9:7)
This is a day to begin to think carefully and specifically about what you desire to give, not out of compulsion or reluctance, but out of love. Keep in mind that we are never asked to consider how much of our resources we are to give back to God but how much of God’s resources we are being invited to keep for ourselves.
Saturday – Read 2nd Corinthians 8:1-9 and 9:6-9 (focusing on verse 9:8-9)
God throws caution to the wind! God gives to those who are in need and does so with reckless abandon! God’s ways, his living and his giving, are always right and they never run out or wear out! Nobody can ever out-give God!
*Filling out your Pledge Commitment Card: On this day we encourage you, as an individual, couple or family, to fill out your pledge card in preparation for worship tomorrow. Consider all that Christ has been teaching you this week about giving and respond as a cheerfully generous giver. If you need additional cards for children or other members of your family, we will have extras available Sunday morning.