How important are stewardship and generosity to God?
As a pastor, you know these are of the utmost importance to the Lord. But does your congregation know this, too? Does how often you teach on these principles reflect how important they are?
Talk to your congregation about all the aspects of stewardship and generosity, and talk about it often. This doesn’t just include how you spend your money, but also how you manage your time and your talents. Stewardship is a holistic message. It covers every area of our lives. Believe it or not, your attendees want to learn more about these topics. And as a church leader, it’s important that you teach these biblical principles to your congregation.
Psalms not only offer wonderful songs of praise to the Lord, but it also offers valuable guidance to us as Christians. Share these lessons and verses with your congregation to teach and encourage stewardship and generosity in your church.
God owns it all.
Nothing on the earth is ours. It all belongs to God. He placed us here to steward (or manage) the time, talent, and treasures He’s given us. When we start to look at our possessions this way, it frees the tight grip we can hold on them. This allows us to loosely hold onto material possession so that we can freely give them to those in need, like Christ has called us to do. While this may seem like a simple principle to teach, it’s one that can be hard to live out. So it requires consistent repetition.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” –Psalms 24:1
“The heavens are yours and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.” –Psalms 89:11
“These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” – Psalms 104:27-30
Delight in the law of the Lord.
Choosing to follow God is not always easy. As Christians, we are warned of the difficulty and the importance of turning away from our fleshly desires. The Bible tells us that we will be mocked and at times it will seem like the whole word is against us. But the one who decides to turn against the world and sets his sights on the Lord, will truly be blessed both on earth and in heaven. We have assurance of our future in Christ when we walk with Him, therefore we can delight in the Lord in all circumstances.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” –Psalms 1:1-3
Immerse yourself in God’s Word.
God has placed us in our communities, professions, and relationships all for a reason. Each one of our footsteps have been ordered by Him as part of His unique plan for us. He doesn’t do anything by accident and He has a plan to use us where we are right now.
Encourage your congregation to spend time in Scripture and seek out the Lord. Stewardship is more than just writing a check for 10% of your income each month to the church. It’s going above and beyond the call to give by helping a sick neighbor, volunteering your time, and sacrificial giving as the Lord prompts you. When we continually immerse ourselves in God’s Word we will begin to look more and more like Him. As we become more like Jesus we become more generous with all we have.
“Show me your ways Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” – Psalms 25:4-6
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.” – Psalms 25:8-10
God commands us to love one another as He has loved us (John 15:12.) God gave us the ultimate sacrifice, His Son. So if He can make a sacrifice of this magnitude for us, we should be able to make sacrifices to help others. Like taking some time out of your Saturday morning to mow your neighbor’s lawn who has been battling cancer or give to support a local mission group’s upcoming trip to drill wells in Africa. We are called to love God, love people, and to serve the world. And a main component in loving others in this way is by giving generously.
“They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.” – Psalms 37:26
“God will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” – Psalms 112:5
“The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” –Psalms 37:21
Remember the poor.
Jesus had no preference to age, race, or social status during His time on earth. We read stories about him discipling the wealthy but also stories about Him stopping what He was doing to help the poor. And, we are called to do the same thing. Don’t overlook someone because of the clothes they wear, the place they live, or think about how they’ll be able to repay your generosity.
Could you imagine what our world would look like if we all came together to help one another? If we resourced the church to meet the needs of the local community? If we eliminated hunger for all? If we pulled together our resources to help people get back on their feet after falling on tough times? Giving back to resource the poor is the start of making that world a reality.
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.” –Psalms 41:1-3
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. “-Psalms 112:9
The heart behind the gift matters.
In God’s economy, He cares much more about the sacrifice of the gift than the actual amount of the gift itself. We see a perfect example of this in the story of the Widow’s Mite. Other people at the temple that day were giving much larger donations than the two cents this widow gave but her gift meant more to the Lord than the others. Why? Because she sacrificed what little she did have. She gave with an obedient and cheerful heart a gift that showed her faith in the Lord. So when giving to others or to the church, give with a cheerful heart. Not one that is motivated by greed or social status.
“Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” –Psalms 119:36
Obedience is rewarded.
The Lord has called us all to be good and generous stewards. He sees your generosity. He sees your sacrifice. He sees your heart. And when we embrace His calling to be good and generous stewards, He abundantly rewards us both on earth and in heaven.
“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” –Psalms 31:19
“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfilled the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” –Psalms 145:17-21
Psalms is a powerful book packed full of prayers and worship to God for His faithfulness. A large part of the worship in this book for God’s faithfulness incorporates generosity and stewardship. A large part of the worship in this book centers around generosity and stewardship and how they relate to God’s faithfulness. When we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to us, we will more naturally steward our resources in a way that is faithful to Him and His calling. He truly is great in all the things He’s given us and He truly is great in rewarding generous disciples.