Sunday October 1, 2023 From Practicing Extravagant Generosity: Daily Readings on the Grace of Giving
The Grace of Giving “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.”
— 2 Corinthians 8:7, NIVChurches that practice Extravagant Generosity don’t talk in general terms about stewardship; they speak confidently and faithfully about money, giving, generosity, and the difference giving makes for the purposes of Christ and in the life of the giver. They emphasize the Christian’s need to give more than the church’s need for money. They teach, preach, and practice proportional giving with the goal of tithing. They use God’s name accurately by appealing to the highest of life-giving purposes for giving rather than employing fear, guilt, pressure, and shame as motivation.
Churches that cultivate giving speak of joy, devotion, honoring God, and the steady growth of spirit that leads to greater generosity. They don’t apologize, whine, groan, act embarrassed, or feel awkward as they encourage people to offer their best to God. People delight in giving. Pledge campaigns are not about money, dollars, and budgets but about mission, spiritual growth, and relationship to God. Stewardship efforts deepen prayer life, build community, unite people with purpose, and clarify mission. People feel strengthened and grateful to serve God through giving.
Churches that practice Extravagant Generosity encourage people to grow in their giving, to give more now than in the past and more in the future than they do today. They share honest stories of lives changed by practicing generosity; they invite people to bear witness to how giving affects their spiritual lives. They publicly thank God for the generosity of the people, and they express personal appreciation time and time again to those who give. They cultivate the hearts of their people in the way of Christ.
Extravagantly generous congregations emphasize mission, purpose, and life-changing results rather than shortages, budgets, and institutional loyalty. They provide a compelling vision that invites people to give joyously, thereby finding purpose, meaning, and satisfaction in changing lives. They know that God moves people to give in order to find purpose and to accomplish things for Christ. They connect money with mission. They give offerings of whatever they can, whenever they can—they excel in the grace of giving, as Paul says (2 Corinthians 8:7).