By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
When it comes to financial stewardship too many churches operate under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It’s what I call the financial stewardship paradox. Jesus had more to say about our relationship to money than any other spiritual discipline, and yet, church members and church leaders do not want to discuss it at all. Both the pastor and the people dread the annual stewardship sermon (mutual intimidation).
This unspoken attitude is a self-serving attitude in that stewardship in churches has been narrowed to institutional fundraising, concentrating solely on the church’s immediate needs and the task of raising so much money for the church budget to the neglect of the larger meaning of money in our lives and how this reality should be regarded in an overall philosophy of life.
Author Randy Alcorn has observed we regularly witness the gifts of teaching and prayer, but we rarely hear stories of church members exercising the gift of giving money. So, how do young people in the church learn to give? Where can they go to witness what giving looks like in the life of the believer captivated by Christ? Why are we surprised when, seeing no other example, they take their cues from a materialistic society?
Somewhere between Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:1 and Matthew 5:16 is the appropriate place for stewardship testimonies. In Matthew 6:1 Jesus teaches us not to give in order to be seen by men; in 5:16 Jesus teaches us to let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Also, be instructed and encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s words to the Macedonian Christians recorded in 2 Corinthians 8:7: “But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” Remember, the grace “of” giving is also the grace “for” giving.