Stewardship and the Abundant Life (with video blog extra)

We live in a culture that is full of messages of scarcity and excess.  These two ideals seem to be in conflict when looked at on the surface.    Yet, our sacristy mentality leads us to act out in excess.  The old adage, “the one with the most toys wins” is the embodiment of that reality.  The basic message is that the supply is limited and thus you need to hoard as much as you can.

This, of course, is in fact precisely the opposite of the Christian view of the world.  As a Christian, we are called to live a life that is situated in the power and providence of God.  The world’s view of life is that of a beginning, middle and end.  This is a limiting view of life.  As a Christian, we have gained a powerful insight into time and space. We know it is infinite.  There is no way to overstate what this knowledge does in our lives.  To know that God is infinite and our lives are eternal reorients our understanding of life, death and all that is involved.

Still, it is easy for us to fall into the old ways of life in the world.  Limited time, talents and treasures in some strange way, gives us a sense of comfort.  Perhaps this is because, if things are limited, they can be controlled.  If there isn’t enough, we then are able to determine the usage of  the limited resources.  When there is more than enough, we are then called to simply share.  I know this sounds like an oversimplification, but perhaps that’s what we need to do.  Do you view the world around you as infinite and boundless or limited and constrained?

Paul reminds the church in Corinth that God has supplied their needs.

 “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Too often we limit our understanding of abundance to the spiritual realities of our lives.  For example we readily acknowledge that God’s grace is unlimited.  Yet, time and time again, we are reminded that God is concerned with our well being and provides for it.  Jesus reminds us in Matthew that if God provides for the lilies of the field,  God will even more provide for us.

I don’t think that this fear of having enough is necessarily a mark of spiritual weakness or immaturity.  After all, this reminder resounds throughout Scripture.  I think that this is perhaps one of the greatest struggles of living out the countercultural life of a Christian.  To live as one who trusts beyond self, runs directly counter to the sinful dependence on self and almost every cultural norm.

As you consider your financial commitment to God through Christ Presbyterian Church this year, I want to challenge you to consider God’s abundance in your life.  Perhaps these questions will help you in your reflection and discernment:

  • How have you seen God provide for you in your life?
  • In what ways do you seek God working through you to provide for others?
  • Have you witnessed God working with abundance within the life of Christ Presbyterian Church?
  • Is God calling you to increase your financial commitment in thankful response to God’s provision in your life?

2013 stewardship theme

 

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