A Worthy Resource for Your Considerationby Neal Eller
My 2012 journey in stewardship and generosity is similar to an expedition I heard described by Alison Levine to Mount Everest. Little did not know what obstacles lay before me or what God wanted to teach me but this one thing I did was to “fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
During my journey, I had the privilege to meet Patrick Johnson. Patrick is the Chief Architect for GenerousChurch.com. When I discovered the website, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read their mission and vision of the organization
- Our mission: Equipping leaders in churches to unleash generous disciples
- Our vision: A nation of generous churches that grow disciples, attract the world, and fund Kingdom expansion
The more I read the more convergence I saw with their vision and Congregational Services’ vision. I knew a conversation was in order so I called Patrick. A few months later, the Baptist State Convention of NC took the steps to rebrand one of their resources, a four-four-week devotional that uses Scripture to demonstrate God’s desire for each of us to live a generous life written by Gordon MacDonald, called: Generosity: Moving Toward Life That Is Truly Life.
This encouraging and challenging foreword appears in our Generosity resource written by Executive Director, Milton Hollifield, to all NC Baptist:
In Mark 12:41-44, we read about how a widow gave an offering of two copper coins that equaled one penny. That may not seem like much, especially compared to the large sums given by the rich people that same day. However, Jesus tells His disciples that this widow’s offering exceeded that of the rich because she gave Him all she had. He knew that the widow gave out of love instead of obligation. She did not give to be seen of others.
Stewardship is a heart issue. It is a way of life for Christ followers. It is offering to Christ all that we are and all that we possess. It asks if we are willing to spend sufficient and consistent time in prayer and in God’s Word. It reminds us that those who follow Jesus should invest time in discipling and serving others – all for God’s glory and purposes. Stewardship is the manifestation of our love for Jesus and our love for others extending His grace.
The depth of our stewardship is equally revealed in how we spend and invest the financial assets God has entrusted to us. Need we remind ourselves that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)? Even our job and the income we have are gifts from God.
Christ followers should be more focused on storing up treasures in heaven than they are earthly treasures that do not last and never truly satisfy. Giving cheerfully and proportionately to the Lord’s work is an expression of our love for Christ, our trust in Christ and our obedience to His Word. If we truly have a heart love for God and if we are living out our faith in Him we will desire to be faithful with the financial and material assets He has entrusted to us.
I am grateful for godly, committed servants such as Gordon MacDonald and Patrick Johnson. Through this devotional book they have outlined for us the biblical principles of stewardship and how we are to live if we want to truly experience joy as God intends. I appreciate how they help us apply the truths of Scripture in very practical ways.
I am delighted we can provide this resource to North Carolina Baptists. I pray that churches all across the state will engage with this material. I encourage you to discuss the questions listed at the end of each week and at the end of the book. Please give prayerful consideration to how God wants to use this study to change your life. Before you begin the devotions, pray that you will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prodding and enlightenment.
I hope that Generosity compels each of us to live selfless lives that desire to give others, and our Savior, our very best. May we renew our efforts to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission?
In His Service,
Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
Pastors can receive a complimentary copy of Generosity by emailing Austin Pulliam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 395-5102, 5651. To order additional copies at $5 per copy, click on the resource listed above on the left.
"Generosity is not an idea, hope, or desire...it is a choice, it is a direction, it is lifestyle. Our God is a generous God, and our goal as believers is to become like Him. The Generosity devotional takes us on a journey of reflection on biblical truth, godly counsel, and stories of life change that move us to become more like Christ. While many people in this world follow their heart, the point is to lead it in direction of conforming to Christ. Use this tool to lead your heart on this journey of generosity."
Scott Ridout, Lead Pastor, Sun Valley Community Church, Phoenix, AZ