September 20-26, 2004



‘The economics of Jesus,’
the ‘theology of the hammer’


People told him he was nuts when self-made-millionaire Millard Fuller gave up his business life in the 1970s, especially because he gave it up to pursue a harebrained idea for ministry: Ordinary Christians would donate their labor to build houses for poor people.

          But now 28 years later Habitat for Humanity has provided nearly 200,000 families around the world a decent place to live. And across the globe and across denominational lines, it has formed partnerships with thousands of congregations. Probably yours -- or at least some of your members.

          It’s easy to see why. For Christian stewards who are concerned with issues of poverty and affordable housing, Habitat proves a simple, hands-on way to help. This week’s Gleanings offers a number of stories about Habitat worth checking out.

          What’s the genius of Habitat’s success? A page on Habitat’s website explains the organization’s philosophy as a Christian ministry, and two simple, yet profound, ideas stand out:

          The economics of Jesus: “When people act in response to human need, giving what they have without seeking profit or interest, we believe God magnifies the effects of our efforts.”

          Theology of the hammer:  "We may disagree on all sorts of other things,” Fuller says, “but we can agree on the idea of building homes with God's people in need, and in doing so using biblical economics: no profit and no interest."

          Habitat shows what happens when God’s spirit inspires the mind, captures the heart and plants a vision in the soul of just one humble servant. With such a clear, simple and Godly vision, it’s no wonder Habitat has caught hold of Christians the world over.

          Is your congregation in need of vision?


-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster (


New this week: September 20-26, 2004


Creative congregational fundraising
For its congregations that need (or want) to look at new sources of income, the New York Metropolitan Synod of the ELCA prepared a PowerPoint presentation on how to approach foundations and other philanthropic agencies. Good nuts-and-bolts tips for stewardship committees, pastors, and others.


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." In Dana Reardon's weekly reflection.


 Be positive or fail
"One of the most important factors of any stewardship program costs absolutely nothing, but without it you will fail. That factor is a positive attitude
." Good advice from Tuck Aaker, stewardship specialist, in the monthly newsletter from ELCA Stewardship Resources.
 Management is a learned art
The management of our lives as Christians is a learned art that is the Holy Spirit's work of making us more nearly whole. (Sanctification is the theological word for this process of growth.) As Christians, our vocation is to be stewards of our lives and all of creation. In particular, we are especially challenged to manage that part of creation in which we are placed to live and utilize our gifts. By the Rev. L. Douglas Stowe, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Hampton, Va,  in the Lutheran Laity Movement Archives.
Joke of the Week!

Weekly Gleanings, a sampling of articles with stewardship implications from the popular press.