Messiah Family and Friends,
Wow, fall is here: the days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler, and the beauty of the great northwest is on full display. Fall also means that we here at Messiah will be starting our stewardship campaign. This year our theme will be “Celebrating a Culture of Generosity.” You should have received the first mailing in your mailbox this week.
With generosity as our theme, I felt I should know more about what generosity is. Since I had some time on my hands, I started to dig into the meaning of generosity. (Okay, I didn’t want to do some chores on my list, so I went online to read about the meaning of generosity). The answer to the question “what is generosity?” may seem obvious. When we read dictionary definitions, we find that it means “showing a readiness to give more of something, especially money, than is strictly necessary or expected.” What about Christian generosity? How is that different? My view on Christian generosity was simple: a desire to support my church and the programs and outreach it provides. I never felt obligated to support the church through my time, talents, and treasures. I must admit: I did not fully understand Christian generosity.
Let’s start with the role model that we as Christians should use: God. We all know that God is generous. Our God perfectly crafted a world which sustains our human lives, lives which themselves came into being by his breath. But God did not stop at life and breath and sustainability. Beyond our survival, the Bible says he considers our delight. God made seas, mountains, and rivers. He made 369,000 species of flowers, 200,000 species of edible plants (if you are brave enough to try), 10,000 species of birds, and stars too numerous to count. Every good thing a person (Christian or non-Christian) enjoys in life is a gift from God. He gave us the senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, so we could experience the richness of these gifts. Does His giving ever cease, does God draw a line in the sand and say, “no more”? You read that and know how impossible the question is.
As we are all made in God’s image, I understand now that you can’t stop generosity! How is it possible to have a Christian scrooge? The gospel opens our soul — and with it our hands and hearts. Generosity is natural, normal, and wired into the existence of every human being. So, ask yourself, why are we so nervous about it at church?
As we begin our stewardship drive this year, let us think of all the ways that we have seen generosity grow and thrive during the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. God bless your generosity!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17-ESV
Messiah Council President