If you were asked to name a faithfully generous person, who would you choose? In the congregational realm, your thoughts might lead to a long-time member or attendee. It’s a quiet, humble, gentle soul who displays kindness, gentleness, and hospitality. Many in your faith community think of her or him as a generous financial supporter, but no one really knows for sure because those kinds of recognition don’t happen in churches very often.
The truth is, somewhere along the way that faithfully generous person had to take a first step into their calling. They may have been motivated to take that step because of the generosity expressed in the lives of their parents or a respected church member. They may have been inspired by biblical illustrations or sermons or stories they heard. Occasionally, faithful generosity springs forth in gratitude from escaping the most challenging of circumstances.
What does faithful generosity look like in this season of uncertainty and anxiety? In some aspects, it looks like it always has: first steps and lasting commitment to the journey are essential. Now, we need to emphasize the faith of longtime faithful generosity: continuing to be generous even when all that we have learned and known feels like it has been turned upside down. We also need to encourage those important first steps in creative ways that we never considered before.
If I ask you the question once more to name a faithfully generous person, I hope those who come to mind include long-time givers and first-time givers, those who donate money and those who volunteer, those who share their God-given talents and those who encourage sharing of all of the above.
-Marcia Shetler, Executive Director/CEO, Ecumenical Stewardship Center
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