Stewardship vs. Generosity

The stress on Stewardship may be in tension with the virtue of Generosity.

One way in which this may show itself is in a contrast between carefulness and liberality, or the virtue of frugality versus the virtue of generosity.

Theologically we must ask whether we are most fundamentally administrators or givers. That depends on whether we have much that is ours to give and at the bottom of that is a question about God’s grace. Does God only lend to us or employ us? Or does God actually give to us?

Certainly, there is value in both models of our relationship to God and they are not to be seen as exclusive. (cf. Luther’s Explanation of the First Article) The Bible makes use of both. We are God’s servants; Christ is our Lord. We are to think of ourselves as stewards responsible to God. Nonetheless, the center of the New Testament message also affirms the reason we have something to give is because it has actually been given to us by God.  We are not only servants; Jesus says to His disciples.  “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 ESV) And according to Paul, the Christian is no longer a slave but a child of God, and hence an heir (Gal. 3:26-4:7)

Generosity of time, skills and money, as well as stewardship of resources follows a pattern:

  • It is a learned or conditioned response. It must be carefully taught, modeled and explained.
  • It is motivated by our Christian faith.
  • It is shaped by life experience. It is never too late to shape life experiences.  All members should experience helping others, to become involved in hands-on mission, to participate in intergenerational experiences and to see how their gifts of time, skills and money can transform the lives of others are major influences in helping people to grow in stewardship and generosity.
  • It is influenced by the witness and experience of others. Intergenerational experiences to work side-by-side with hands-on projects.
Next Week:  Comprehensive Approach to Stewardship for Adults
Noreen Wenstone, Stewardship Chairperson