September 24 - Do We Trust God With Our Hearts but not Our Wallets? The reasons that people give are pretty simple, but the reasons that people withhold their giving are much more complicated.
September 17 - Throw Up Your Hands – In Prayer When we have no other recourse and we think about it, we turn to God. But when we are really without hope we may not even know where to look.
September 10 - Not Mistakes, But Teaching Moments If we are sure that we are not allowed to err, that we have to be infallible, then our failures can make us smaller.
September 3 - We are Children of the Banquet Host In the grocery store line we will be less worried about how the tired clerk treats us and more about how we treat her. Just think about it as if all of life is a reception and you are the host.
August 20 - Pray with Open Hands, Open Heart Open, empty hands remind us that we possess nothing that we have not received from God. We open our hands to a sudden rain that pours down upon us. We open our hands in surprise and in joy. We open our hands to signify that whatever our loving God has in store for us, we are poised to receive.
August 13 - Look for Blessings in Any Adversity The doctors that who have treated my two kinds of cancer have reason to believe I will recover. But none of us is sure how much time we have. What we have is time to give thanks for the fact that we were given the chance to experience the richness of God's creation. And to give thanks for the people that we share this life with.
August 6 - Prescription for a Life of Joy We make all kinds of bargains with God to get what we want, but God has already given much more than we can ever repay. And God continues to give us good things as if our bank account were not already overdrawn.
July 16 - Surrender to the Flow of Generosity In the midst of illness, my medical bills are piling up, even with insurance. Someone offered to pay them. I was horrified, even though I had no idea how I would find the money.”
July 9 - The Best Stewardship of Time “If you ever feel powerless when someone is sick, then you do not know the power of attention and care and prayer. I count any day a blessing on which I get more calls or cards than hosiptal and doctor bills.
June 18 - Time For Others is Talent Aplenty I am sitting at my desk looking out the window toward the parking lot. There is a man walking very patiently alongside an elderly man who is slow and halting, walking with a cane and oxygen. I can see the care and concern of the younger man by the way he is gently holding the other’s arm at the elbow.
June 4 - Giving Is Like Snow Plowing Some of us might treat the church a little like the snow plow guy and pay only when the need is there. There will always be people who come looking for a church when they need a wedding or a funeral. And we will be here for them. We will be here because there are people who know their need of God is unending and unremitting. And those are the people who support the church and keep it going by their generosity. Or so it would seem.
May 28 - The Power of 'Thank You' Maybe you are better about saying thank you. Maybe all the people in your life know how much they have given you. Perhaps you tell them on a regular basis, or at least when they go out of their way for you. If not, then it might be time to get more intentional about saying thanks.
May 21 - You Hear, But How Well Do You Listen? Too often we hear about two words and then we start formulating our response, and so we really do not hear what is said because we are so caught up in what we want to say.
May 14 - Enlarge Your Circle of Caring We have a tendency during difficult times to pull back in and to attend only to our immediate needs. And when a family member is sick or in trouble we may turn from outside responsibilities and care for them. That is human. That is normal.
April 30 - You Can't Tell a Giver by Her 'Cover' Or lets go a little low-tech and imagine those grade-school homework assignments where we have to draw a line from the giver to the gift -- the givers listed on one side of the sheet and the gifts on the opposite side. Could you match gifts and giver correctly?
April 23 - A Christian Walk is More than Happiness Living in a country where we proclaim in our founding documents that one of our inalienable rights given by God is the pursuit of happiness, it sometimes comes as a bit of a shock to us that happiness is not necessarily a Christian value and that following Christ is not necessarily the same as pursuing happiness.
April 9 - Which Kingdom: God's, or Yours and Mine? Why are we so unwilling to give up our picture of this country to make room at the table for others? Why are we so unwilling to see the other as one of God's children to be loved and cared for?
April 2 - Put Your Tax Refund To God's Use. "The advice I read was about how to use the refund to increase your net worth. For some of us who are really struggling that may be important. But for anyone who is not struggling, then maybe there are other things that can be done with an income tax return."
March 26 - Generosity Trumps The Austerity Impulse. "Good stewardship often requires those of us who are not good at such financial things to learn to be good at them if we are going to have the resources when we need them to do the work that the Lord calls us to. I am grateful to more financially astute people in my congregation and in the larger church who help to keep things running."
March 12 - Called To Be Christ In The World. "So my question for you is, Who Would Jesus Be in This World? It is so much more far reaching. It not only determines the answer to the what to do questions, it often puts you into entirely different circumstances where different questions need to be answered."
March 5 - Giving Is Often A Measure Of Trust. "And how about individuals who are unhappy with their churches? In my years of speaking on stewardship issues, people have frequently told me, "I would give more, but my church never spends it," or "When they start doing things the way that I like it, then I will give." So where are they giving what God asks them to share?"
February 26 - Exercise Those Generosity Muscles. "I give a few dollars here and there to causes, more because they ask and I have a hard time refusing. And the amount I give probably just equals the amount that is spent asking me for my donation, so it becomes like the empty potato sack. If I give a pittance to enough different causes, I can start a lot of potato sacks."
February 19 - Everyday Lessons In Stewardship. "One woman left something to me. It was a legacy of faithfulness which I might follow. She quietly served in this church for most of her 90 years. I didn't know how much she had done or for how long because she wasn't one to announce it. Pastors almost have to be detectives to find out some of what people do faithfully and quietly."
February 12 - Timely Gifts We Can Give Co-Workers. "A fairly high percentage of companies, (I think they said 40 percent) allow people to do this. You can give unused time off to a coworker who is sick or has sick family or some other emergency so that they can stay on the payroll during the crisis. A personnel manager in a company that provides this benefit commented that the plan has improved morale."
February 5 - Teach Our Children Stewardship By Example. "People who grew up seeing that have at least an idea of what they are doing when they fill out lines in budgets or pay their bills online. They are putting money into virtual envelopes. And those who tell me these stories always tell me that the first thing they do is give to church. They have a framework for seeing giving and for doing it."
January 29 - Stewards of God's Love. "Jesus was God's love incarnate. When we share love with each other we are sharing Jesus. When we share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus, we are sharing God's love. This precious gift is like a fine instrument. I am told by people who know a lot more than I do about music that a fine violin must be played. The more it is played the sweeter its sound and the more valuable it becomes. I believe that is true about the greatest gift we are given."
January 22 - Faithful Giving Means Trusting God To Provide. "That is why I was so impressed when I learned that farmers often take out a loan at the beginning of the year to make their tithe to the church, so that the church will be there to pray with them and for them throughout the year. Then, of course, the loan is paid off at the harvest."
January 15 - Plunge Into Austerity - At Least For Six Months. "We did a session in confirmation class where we talked to our confirmands about the difference between wants and needs. I started thinking about all the things I think I need but don't really. Of course, this house is one of those things, but as I relook at my budget I can pick and choose what among the things I merely want that I can afford to have."
January 8 - Let's Have Christmas Generosity Year-Round. "The Three Days of Easter are hard to separate. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter together remind us of just how much we have been given and invite us more deeply into a life of giving, a life of thanksgiving."
January 1 - Make a resolution for 'God-Improvement'. "The problem with New Year's resolutions is that they often end up in the back of the closet soon after the Christmas presents you didn't need and don't know what to do with. We break them and discard them. But there is a better Christian model than the yearly one of self improvement. It is a daily one of God improvement.