It’s hard to encapsulate a theology of giving and stewardship in a couple of paragraphs, but Paul frames it well in his second letter to the Corinthian church (chapters 8 and 9):
“But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
Paul affirms the church’s excellence in both attitude and action when it comes to the whole scope of ministry, but he encourages them to be just as zealous when it comes to stewarding God’s good gifts. In God’s economy, whatever we receive, in whatever form, is meant to be shared. We are to be a conduit of grace, mimicking both the abundance and the self-sacrificing tone of Christ’s charity. When we become deeply aware of the open-handedness of Jesus’ loving and costly generosity (displayed so profoundly on the cross), we are compelled to be open-handed as well; recognizing that everything is from, for, and through Him (Romans 11:36). No matter what our income, we have experienced the richness of God’s mercy and so following Jesus means that we become good at giving away our lives, willingly participating in the creative and joy-filled reallocation of God’s resources for the glory of Christ and His Kingdom. We are blessed in order to bless.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
In prayer, ask Jesus:
Do I have an attitude of dependence on Your provision for me? Show me my heart.
What does my attitude toward my own finances and attitude reveal about what I believe about You?
How, specifically, can I grow in this area?
Rob Schrumpf is the lead pastor of Campus House in the heart of Purdue.