Responding to the Abundance of God’s Blessings
Our goal is to be a family on a mission for the glory of God, extending the love of Christ to all people, for the renewal of all things. Our response to God’s blessings through our financial stewardship enables the church to fulfill this mission. Let’s give joyfully toward this mission and see, like the church in Acts, a multitude of people added to our number each day!
Thanks be to God for His gift that is too wonderful for words. –2 Corinthians 9:15
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What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is…recognition of God’s ownership.
Read: Psalm 50, especially 7-15
God is the creator (Gen 1:1) the sole ruler and Lord over all creation. He controls all things in this world, the whole creation (Psalm 50:12). Nothing that we do takes away from God’s overruling presence throughout all of creation. It is His to create, protect, and use for His glory. Whenever we use the resources of the world, we use the resources of God’s world. That also means that “the silver is mine and the gold is mine” (Haggai 2:8). When we look at our own lives and resources, we tend to forget God’s sovereign ownership of creation. We expect Him to care for us as if He owes us something.
In Job 41:11, God replies, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Or, we think that we have earned our treasures because of our own abilities (Deut. 8:17). God doesn’t need our money as if He needed an income. Instead, we need Him every moment to sustain us. Our worship, and the dedication of our whole lives to Him, is an acknowledgement of His control over everything. It’s thanks offering, a giving back of what we have so abundantly received (Psalm 50:14).
Pray: For a renewed heart that daily remembers God’s active control of the world and a thank heart that praises His loving care.
Stewardship is…revering Christ as the ultimate steward.
Read: John 1:1-18
Jesus is the Word and the creator of everything; this is His world (John 1:1-3). If stewardship, in its simplest implication, is about giving, then John 1:1 confronts the world with the greatest gift ever given, the most astounding act of generosity that can be imagined. God presented His most valuable gift to man in the Eternal Word made flesh. Once in the world, Jesus the Incarnate Son then gave Himself to the Father in complete submission and to the world as the Servant from God. In His earthly existence, Jesus was a steward charged with a divine mandate.
Jesus fulfilled His role of steward perfectly and managed His life faithfully. Looking at a world filled with people facing the death sentence of sin, Jesus Christ laid aside the riches of heaven and came to be Savior. As He walked the earth, He continued to give His life for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom. Even faced with death, He gave His last treasure, His own life to save the lives of others. He went to the cross with no regret that if He had been a better steward, He might have done more. He had done everything God wanted of Him, and He became the master steward.
Pray: Thank the Lord for the gifts of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, who enables you to be a steward of all that you have been entrusted.
Read: Hebrews 13:1-6
In the midst of exhorting Christians to live according to the gospel, the writer of Hebrews actually commands contentment. Just as contentment is a result of trusting God, it is also the means of trusting God. To be discontent is to accuse God with being either unloving or impotent. Contentment with our life is, therefore, as important a virtue as love, hospitality, mercy, or fidelity. Sadly, we live in a culture of discontent. Every day we see ads trying to convince us that what we have is not good enough. We need something new, something better. Desires become hopes, which become wants, which become ‘needs.’ “I’ve just got to have that new HDTV wide-screen TV.” Once the newness wears off, it’s time for another new thing.
Paul advises Timothy to stay focused on the lasting joy of contentment. “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (I Tim 6:6)
Pray: For a renewed heart that is content with God’s provision, that isn’t always looking to new things for satisfaction.
Stewardship is…cheerful generosity.
Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
When Christians give, they give motivated by grace. A reluctant gift or a guilt-manipulated gift is not generosity, it’s fulfilling an obligation. A generous lifestyle, however, is a life of freedom, of simplicity, of joy, of fruitfulness, of purpose. There is a satisfaction to pleasing God, to bringing joy and honor to Him. A Christian should smile as they give; they should want to give. We should see giving like a roller coaster ride: it feels adventurous and risky, but it’s really safe. We think we are going to plummet, but God holds onto us tightly (2 Cor 9:8). Many Christians experience that thrill; once they make giving a priority, it becomes more and more joyful.
Pray: For a renewed lifestyle that expresses grace, holds onto possessions and talents loosely, and finds joy in giving.
Read: Deuteronomy 26:1-4, 9-11
The idea of ‘first fruits’ giving is to offer up to God the first rewards of our labor in acknowledgement that what we have is a gift from God. The first fruits were the choicest, the best of the harvest. The Israelites were saying, “God, you’ve given us this bounty, so now we give it back to you.” Giving the first fruits is also a sacrifice. They could be sold for a higher price than the rest of the harvest. In giving them away, God’s people trusted Him to provide a continued harvest. It was, therefore, a sacrificial pledge; a promise that all things belong to God.
Christ gave sacrificially, and so Christina giving is a sacrificial giving. His first fruits were the pledge of the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of the full harvest of His promise. Christians have continued this practice, giving first fruits sacrificially, trusting that the Lord will provide.
Pray: For a renewed lifestyle that seeks to give God the first of everything in all areas of life.
Stewardship is…praise to God.
Read: 2 Corinthians 9:11-15
When we can bless others with our generosity, the praise goes to God. People who receive the generous grace of Christians are able to praise God “because of the surpassing grace God has given” (verse 14). They know that such a gift comes from an even greater source – the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Giving is just a part of a lifestyle of generosity. Christians always give of their heart, their time, their hope, and their prayers.
Jesus died for us to set us free from this life of death. By putting to death the old, we take on the new life found in Christ. We trust that God will provide us the strength to be content in all situations (Philippians 4:11-13) so that we can, in turn, sacrifice joyfully of the sake of the gospel.
Pray: For a renewed church, full of people with renewed hearts who are free to risk everything for the sake of the gospel.
To download the 7-Day Stewardship Devotional, click here. » 2014 Stewardship Devotional
To download the Thanking God for His Abundant Blessings devotional brochure, click here. » 2014 Blessings Devotional
Who manages the stewardship and fiscal activities of the Church?
The Finance Pastor and administrative staff manage the daily financial activities of CBC. The Stewardship Committee reviews past and discusses upcoming financial activities of the church on a monthly basis. The Finance Pastor works with the Senior Pastor, Elders, Staff, and Stewardship Committee to provide leadership to overall stewardship and fiscal direction. The Stewardship Committee is in the process of engaging an independent external Certified Public Accountant to provide at least a quarterly review of the church’s financial activities for further oversight.
How are fiscal activities of the Church communicated to the membership?
On a monthly basis, our email (the InTouch Monthly) includes an updated report of giving from the past week, along with the remaining need to meet that month’s budget. Additionally, the Stewardship Committee communicates to the church body via website articles and emails. Quarterly giving reports are sent to individual church members to recap individual giving for the quarter/year.
What avenues are available for me to use in fulfilling my giving commitment?
Church attendees are given the opportunity to place monetary offerings and gifts in the offering bags that are passed during the weekly worship services, using available giving envelopes or not. The church has also established a secure online giving website which may be used for one-time or recurring offerings from either bank account or debit/credit cards. Recently, the Stewardship Committee also provided communications regarding the new opportunity to gift securities. For more information about creative giving options, download the Stewardship Committee’s Creative Giving Ideas.