The people who generally make for effective stewards are those who have a vision. Some long-term goal of great meaning provides the best incentive for short-term decisions about how to manage our resources. Whether it is saving for a home, college education for our children or a comfortable retirement, a compelling vision for life which identifies what is of most value to us enables us to invest in that goal instead of sowing in places that will bear little fruit.
Proverbs 29:18 (ASV) says that “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.” In other words, without a vision to guide them, people can be unrestrained about how they choose to allocate their God-given resources. The word “vision” in that verse means more than just any plan for the future. It refers specifically to a vision of God’s future plans for us and what that vision requires of us. Stewardship then is not fundraising. It is a spiritual discipline for discerning God’s vision and aligning our choices with that vision. A church budget may look like a financial document but it is, in reality, a vision statement, arrived at through prayerful discernment of God’s purpose, the cumulative resources at our disposal, and the choices that will best bring the vision to reality.
The Generous Giving theme for 2020 is “Vision” which reminds us that faithful stewardship choices call for an ability to see God’s Vision for our church and that our monetary offerings are acts of worship, praise, and thanksgiving to the Living and Loving God. We give in response to the abundant generosity of the Original Giver, the source of all life and blessings. What we write on our pledge card and what we place in the collection plate each week are signs of our intention to dedicate our lives to understanding God’s vision for us and serving God by committing ourselves to that vision. The faith community is the Body of Christ; we give through the church to carry out God’s purposes in the world.
Below are some questions we might ask ourselves in order see more clearly what our stewardship of God’s vision for our church might look like.
How has God blessed your life and that of your family?
Why do you give to the church?
What does this faith community mean to you?
Was there a particular time in your life that the church was there for you in a time of need?
How does being able to give make you feel?
Grace and Peace,