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Sept. 7-13, 2009



Confessions of a Generosity Jedi

I can type like the wind. No brag, just fact. My fingers fly. I close my eyes, lean my head back and let the words flow from my fingertips.

But I remember those torturous high school days, when I was one of two “college bound” students in the business typing class. The keys of the manual typewriters were not marked, so we had to learn exactly where each letter was. And we had to strike with the proper finger.

Touch typing seemed about as natural as eating peas with a knife. I made tons of mistakes, in those frustrating classes. But I was determined to learn.  Thirty three years of writing and editing later, I am a keyboard Jedi.

Fact is, most things take desire, time and practice to do, and more desire, more time and more practice to master. The same holds true for living with generosity. Good stewardship starts with desire and requires discipline and practice.

How can we cultivate the desire for people to live generously, when the whole proposition is illogical? The law of generosity says the more money, energy and time we give away, the more enriched our lives will become. Illogical. Counter-cultural.

Like most truths of faith, the paradox of generous giving cannot be grasped intellectually, but only experienced. That’s why we need to witness to others about the value of giving. Give them the map and invite them to take the journey for themselves. 

Tell your story of giving, and get others to share theirs. Collect quotes and articles by people who have learned to live generously. For instance, there’s Rick Warren, the pastor who wrote “The Purpose-Driven Life.” When he made millions from his book, he became a “reverse tither,” living on 10 percent of his income and giving 90 percent to the church.

He explains it thus: “Every time I give, it breaks the grip of materialism in my life. Every time I give, it makes me more like Jesus. Every time I give, my heart grows bigger.” Now that’s testimony! Rick Warren is a generosity Jedi. (Read Warren’s full comment in the resource below.)

-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

Reprint rights gladly given to congregations and other religious groups. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2009, Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission." Inquire for other uses: rcblezard#embarqmail.com

New This Week:

Rick Warren on Money, Ministry
When his book, “The Purpose-Driven Life” made millions, Pastor Rick Warren faced the dilemma of what to do with the money. He became a “reverse tither” – giving away 90 percent of his money and living on 10 percent. In this interview, he explains why: “Every time I give, it breaks the grip of materialism in my life. Every time I give, it makes me more like Jesus. Every time I give, my heart grows bigger.” Wow! Click here for this interview, posted on Beliefnet.

Blessings in Hard Times
What’s a Christian to do? Start with gratitude, advises Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. “Begin with the simple (!) task of listing the blessings in your life – shelter, family, friends, skills and your breath. Include your hungers: for relationship, greater depth in those relationships, the desire to be of service and to give to others out of your blessings. Click here for “Blessings in Hard Times,” from Episcopal Life online.

Fall Curriculum Round-Up, Final Part
Here are some more offerings. Back to school means many congregations are looking for curriculum suggestions for youth and adult forums, classes, and small groups. This is the final week that SOLI will be offering a series of links to free and low-cost options. Click here for the “Fall Curriculum Round-up.” Have a suggestion for us to share with others? E-mail webmaster Rob Blezard at rcblezard@embarqmail.com.

Lectionary Reflection: Sounds Like a Good Idea, but …
Questions arise when Jesus tells his followers to lose their lives for the sake of the Gospel: “what in the world does it really mean? How much will it cost us? Is it going to hurt? Will we be inconvenienced? Might it mean doing without so that others may have something? So what is the price tag?” Click here for “Sounds Like a Good Idea, but…,” from columnist Sharron Riessinger Lucas. Click here to read her archived columns.

Faith and Money
“At least since Moses smashed the golden calf, the borderland between the realms of faith and money has not been an altogether comfortable place to live,” writes author Dan Hochkiss, adding, “Religious leaders know that mammon still competes with God for the loyalty of even the most devout.” So begins an excellent, weighty exploration. Click here for “Faith and Money,” from the Alban Institute’s Congregational Resource Guide.

Biblical Principles for Respecting the Integrity of Creation
“Environmental stewardship is not talk; environmental stewardship is action,” asserts Calvin DeWitt in this challenging essay. “Environmental stewardship is practice. Environmental stewardship is practicing the stewardship principles we preach and teach.” Click here for “Biblical Principles for Respecting the Integrity of Creation,” from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, where there’s a lot of good stuff to look at.


      Copyright 2009 Stewardship of Life Institute