27 - Giving well is part of
living well "While I can give
to Lutheran World Hunger and know they are being really careful with
my money, I decided I would give with a little less caution this
year. . We have an extravagant God who makes me feel rich with all
that I have been given. I want to pass that feeling
20 - Generosity is about passing
along God's grace. "Generosity is
about giving out of abundance and thankfulness to others even when
they don't deserve. Jesus talked a lot about giving to the
poor. The term deserving poor is not there. Giving is
not even about who the recipients are - it is enough that they
are God's children. Generosity is about who we are as
13 - Help 'A Bunch of Guys' make a
difference. "The Spirit is
out there in the world calling us to see the hungry and the needy
and the homeless and to give what we can of our talents and our
wealth to become one with that Spirit that calls us. We become one
with the Spirit, the breath of life and maybe it is "in there" when
we Take a Breath."
6 - Pass the peace of Christ this
Advent. "Christ willingly
offers Himself to us to offer us a peace that is beyond
comprehension, but nonetheless real. It is a peace that
increases with sharing rather than dissipating. It is a little like
the loaves and fishes. Broken and blessed, the peace of Christ
abounds when it is shared."
22 - Thanksgiving in a dangerous time. "We all
gather. We gather to give thanks. We give thanks that we
have been given each other to celebrate with and to mourn, to worry
with and to pray with. We give thanks that some of us have
enough to share and to truly live the meaning of the words, 'giving
15 - A generous leap of faith -- "Making the
decision to tithe is a little like jumping off a cliff into the
water below. You can hear the water but you can't see
it. So you trust that it is there. It really does catch
you and hold you and refresh you when you hit it."
8 - Teaching gratitude -- "Perhaps
when people are beginners at this stewardship thing, we should do
what we do with young children and just teach them how to say
thanks. Help them to see what is an appropriate response to
all that God has given them. If and when they discover how
grateful they are and how good God has been to them, they will be
grateful to us for helping them learn how to
1 - Children show us the joy of sharing -- "We should
all get as excited as children about passing out whatever is given
to us. First we pass out what we got in church: God's love and
grace, forgiveness, God's Word or hope. Then we pass out what
God has given us to share in the rest of our lives. We share
the time and possessions that move through our hands."
25 - To live fully is the best response to death -- "We are all
going to die. If no one has pronounced the sentence yet, let
me say it now. We are all going to die. I always figure
that is why we have Ash Wednesday, in case some of us haven't
heard. But what are we going to do between now and the time of
our death? Whose lives will we change? What difference
will our lives have made to the lives around us and to the world?
18 - 'Go in peace! serve the poor! -- "As I
stood in back of church today and dismissed the congregation with
the words that I borrowed from the intern at the church across town,
'Go in peace, serve the poor,' I got flack from a member who told me
that I was supposed to say, 'serve the Lord.' I told him it was the
same thing. I believe that it is.
11 - More than balancing the church's
books -- "I have been
hearing and reading what I have already recognized: There is a
disparity between what stewardship leaders want to teach and lead
and what congregations want. Congregations are looking for a plan to
increase the amount of money they take in every week so they can
balance the budget and keep the doors open. Stewardship leaders want
to talk about generosity as a way of life." In Dana Reardon's weekly
Oct.4 - Charity's most valuable gift:
Hope -- "We who talk stewardship and those who
would give need first to be sure in the hope of a better
world. We need to see what Jesus saw when he laid hands on a
leper or fed hungry people with little. We need to see strong
healthy people caring for each other."
Sept. 27 - We must be compassionate, yes, but
strong. "Mother Theresa
is portrayed as loving and compassionate, and certainly
she was, but to work under the conditions she did and care for the
dirty, filthy, cast-off people. She had to be incredibly
strong and brave. To leave a well-to-do household to live on
nothing but what God provided, she had to know that Jesus that I
Sept. 20 - Giving for a rainy day. "If I have
been given more than I really need and there are people out there
like this couple or people in Florida who are hurting from a
hurricane or children who are hungry then what I need to do is to
increase my giving beyond a tithe."
Sept. 13 - Generous alternatives to tithing. "I
believe the era of the church being the established temple of the
people, if it ever did exist in that sense, is over. That does
not mean the message of Jesus no longer needs to be
proclaimed. It is just that as we need to explore new ways to
do evangelism -- that is, to get the word out -- maybe we need to
explore new ways to support the ministry."
Sept. 6 - Why should God care what we
wants us to know how much we are loved. God sent God's son for
that very purpose. Jesus nailed to a cross is the only picture
God has ever sent us of who God is. That is the ultimate
statement of love for all of us."
30 - Worship feeds us, so we can feed God's
sheep. "I had a
thought when I was meditating on so many hurts and sorrows in this
world. We put up so many crosses and crucifixes to remind us
of Christ. I think Christ would like it if instead of our gaze
being upon the cross, that we would check out the view from the cross."
23 -Transform your indignation into action. "What is it
that you are justifiably angry at? It is something you think
someone else has fallen down on? Is it something you may even
be angry at someone in church or the government or even God for? So
get angry and call someone. But don't stop there. Do what you can do
Aug. 16 - Go in peace! Serve the poor! "But this road in the Christian life, this
way of the cross passes by many people all over the world. It
passes by soup kitchens in our neighborhood and disaster victims in
Florida and aids victims in Africa. If we haven't seen them on
our journey maybe it is because we aren't making the
Aug. 9 - Affluence vs. being rich toward God. "Not being rich
toward God is about needing things or more things. Do you ever
think, 'If I just had this much more or made this much more a year,
then I would have enough.' Do you ever say, 'When I get to
this point financially then I can help out my church or give to
2 - Where your budget is, your heart is
also. "What is lobbying
for my attention and my money? Am I any better at looking at
the whole picture before I do my budget? Am I any better at
seeing where my heart lies? Is it so easy to open my purse for fast
food and less easy for the hungry? Does my momentary hunger
outweigh global hunger?"
26 - Stewardship work is not
ought to be changing your life and your way of looking at the
world. When I am robbed I feel violated. When I learn to
give I feel blessed. If my work as a stewardship leader does not
leave you feeling richer instead of poorer and truly blessed by God,
then I have not accomplished what I have set out to do."
19 - Let God's Blessings Flow - Through You. "The idea of not
being independent scares us. Rather than give first fruits, we
make sure we have enough for us, and not just our daily bread, but
enough for ever so that we never have to be dependent on anyone.
This of course belies the idea that we are dependent first of all on
12 - Pocketbook Protests. "Withholding
money is a problem that happens not only on the denominational
level, but also on the congregational level. I have heard it
happening for all kinds of reasons. Yes, because of social
issues, but as likely because we don't agree on the new renovations
or on the parking lot or we don't like the pastor."
5 - Needs Should Factor Into Giving. "Since all that we
have is ours to share, then the great needs of those we encounter
should make us open our hearts and our purses. We cannot feel
good when we have so much and others are in need."
28 - We Really Give What Is Not Ours. "Our goal as steward
leaders is to help people understand that it really is easy to give
back what is not ours in the first place. We give back what we
have been given. We are failing at our job if we let money sit
in all our pockets so long that we start thinking it is ours and we
have other plans for it. That is when it gets hard to ask
people to give."
21 - So Grateful, All We Can Do Is Give. "We use God to
keep our kids in line. We use guilt and obligation to get
tithes out of people and work around the church. But nothing makes
us generous and giving more than the knowledge that God provides
everything without our effort."
14 - We Have All the Time in God's World. "You
see, the scarcity of time is all in my head, and in the mistaken
thought that I have to accomplish everything. The more time I
spend with God, the more I understand that we are all working God's
will -- or better, that God's will is working through all of us and
it is not so much what I individually accomplish as what gets
done. You see God has all the
time in the world."
7 - The Poor Will Always Be With Us, Therefore
... "If the poor are
always with us then we should always have their needs in front of
us. If the poor are always with us, then we should think about
them with every money decision we make. If the poor are always
with us, we should be giving and sharing until everyone is
31 - Overcoming Our 'Musical Chairs' Mentality. "We live as if
there is not enough, as if something is going to be pulled out from
under us at any minute. We had better get ours before any one
else does. It doesn't matter how poor or how rich you are, chances
are you are playing this game. Those of us who do not consider
ourselves rich think it is okay for us to play this
24 - Do We Donate as 'Friend' or
'Foe'? "People tell me
that if others would tithe then they would as well, because then the
system would work. But if they give and others don't, then
they feel they have wasted their money and they feel taken. But what
I give is between God and me on one level, and I need to give it
whether you do or not."
17 - Good Stewardship vs. Petty Frugality. "Did you ever go
to a church picnic where they had generic soda? Somebody wants
you to know that they are being good stewards. But they
probably don't drink it any other time. People feel like
good stewards when the church has old cast off furniture that is
falling apart in the church parlors and gathering rooms. It is
cast off because no one wanted anything that looked that bad in
their own house."
10 - The Measure of Our Faith. "Do you believe
that God can do something even with your church? Do you believe that
the Holy Spirit is strong enough to do something even with the
fallible people with whom God has joined you together in
community? God believes so. God often puts together the least
likely people in congregations and it seems to those people that
nothing can happen among and through them, but it does."
3 - More Than Balancing the Books. "If the stewardship team does a good job
then people will begin to realize that God is the source of
everything in their lives and the reason for everything in their
lives. So yes, they will probably give more money to the
church. That is the part that the finance people are hoping
for. But members will also bring their hopes and dreams to the
April 26 - No Time? Then It's Time To Pray. "For all of our
talk about being justified by grace, sometimes we Lutherans function
as if we think we are going to work ourselves into the
kingdom. If I just take on one more project or help one more
person, then it will be enough."
April 19 - For the Beauty of the Earth. "So when you give thanks in prayer, give thanks for the beauty
of the earth. When you add your petitions for any in need, add
the concerns for the environment. As we begin to daily pray for the
earth and its renewal, we will be called into the cause of its
renewal. What we pray for will become what we work for.
What we pray for will become what we vote for."
April 12 - God's Will Be Done - With Us. "Maybe that is
what daily dying and rising with Christ is all about. We need
to look over our lives and see what it is that we are glad we are
spending our time doing and what it is we could just as soon not do
to spend more time on the things we really feel called to
April 5 - Deathbed Reflections for Every Day.
"Maybe that is what daily dying and rising with Christ is all
about. We need to look over our lives and see what it is that
we are glad we are spending our time doing and what it is we could
just as soon not do to spend more time on the things we really feel
called to do."
March 29 - To See God's Hand in Everything. "When things are getting tough,
sometimes we need to be reminded that God is with us. I
have to tell you I prayed all the way to the gas station the other
day and coasted in on fumes, but sometimes when I am having a bad
day, I can use a reminder that God is with me in it. Sometimes
God is leading me through it and sometimes away from a bad
direction, but still God is there."
March 22 - Jesus's Subversive Message "Often God lays it upon my heart
to reach out to people because they need the church. They need
to hear the good news of God's love. We all do."
In Dana Reardon's weekly
March 15 - The First Fruits of
Ourselves. Even when choosing a church
or our jobs in the church we tend to think about what we are going
to get out it instead of what we could give. We need to give the
first fruits of our time and energy too, and to give it where God
March 8 - Kicking the Consumer Habit. Some of us come to
stewardship late in life. Rather than being taught how to put
God first and plan our lives around first fruits, we have already
committed to big mortgages and a lifestyle that can threaten to
consume more and more money all the time.
March 1 - Decisions Before It's Too Late. In this
day when the majority of our health care dollars are spent at the
end of our lives when the quality is poor, I believe that every
Christian should have a living will and designate someone to make
decisions for them.
23 - Generosity: A Form of Insanity? I have long maintained that
those who want to read the Bible literally should begin with Jesus's
words to man who comes along asking how to inherit eternal life. In
Matthew 19, Jesus advises the man, "Sell all your possessions and
16 - The Value of a Good Word It's always easier to motivate people to do
their best by using a positive feedback than criticism. Everybody
knows that, yet negative thinking still dominates in many
organizations -- including our congregations. The strategy makes no
9 - A Dollar Saved, A Dollar
Misused? "We are not being good stewards of what
God has given us if we put the money in the bank that was meant to
glorify God and to remember the people who have faithfully served
God in our churches. We are being better stewards when we spend
2 - High Calorie Stewardship. "While it is true
that spending stimulates the economy more than saving. It does
not necessarily stimulate it more than giving. If I give $100
to a poor person or a charity, the odds even higher that it will get
spent. They need food and shelter. They are certainly
not going to hoard it."
26 - Hard Stories, Hard Choices. "Being good stewards
isn't always easy or pretty. We will struggle always to find the
right answers when faced with those who demand what is not theirs.
As we try to hold on to what is not ours but God's, hopefully we
will all learn something."
19 - No Such Thing As Foolish
Generosity. "We are told that we never
know when we are entertaining angels unknown to us. Luther says that
this is how we are called to live. But he also points out that
often it won't be angels we are entertaining. He acknowledges
that we will get taken frequently if we live the life we are called
12 - Extravagant Stewardship. "Our job here on earth is to
give others a glimpse into the kingdom. It is to let others
see the good and gracious and loving Father in what we do and how we
5 - See Through the Generous Eyes of
Christ. "God doesn't leave us there in guilt.
That has always been the good news of the Gospel. The
one who created us for good and redeemed us for love has the power
to transform us."