Several years ago, I was part of a denominational Generosity Cohort. The objective of the cohort was to dive deep into the relationship between faith and giving and to understand the meaning of a “culture of generosity.” Naturally, the first place we looked was to scripture. But does the Bible really have all that much to say about money?
Simply by the numbers, between the Old and New Testaments, there are 31,102 verses in the Bible. There are fewer than 500 verses that deal with prayer while there are well over 2,000 verses that pertain to money, wealth, greed, contentment, and other topics that relate to our finances. Fifteen percent of everything that Jesus ever taught was on money and possessions. He taught more about money than he taught about Heaven and Hell combined! If Jesus was so concerned about money, perhaps we’d better understand why.
The Gospel of Christ is good news! Generosity is good news in action! Our generosity reflects our relationship to God as the giver of all things. When we are in a relationship with God, we see him at work. When we prioritize our walk with him, making God first, others second, and ourselves last, we are taking the first trust-filled step of living generously.
Recently I read a quote that struck a chord with me: “If we are living faithfully, we are giving faithfully.” Faithful stewardship is an essential aspect of discipleship. In order to create a culture of generosity in our church we have to ask ourselves some questions and be willing to reflect prayerfully. Some questions to consider might be: What is our theology of giving? Is it spiritual and personal or do we view it as a community responsibility? How do we practice giving? Does it reflect our personal relationship with God or do we give out of duty and what is comfortable? What does our church teach on giving? Do we talk about giving as the practice of discipleship or do we talk about money only when necessary and with an apology?
As we reflect on our personal giving habits, let’s remember that giving and living generously allow us to walk by faith and not by sight. They launch us into a whole new and exciting relationship with God!
In Christ’s love, Mary Butkevich