Generous Giving From the Heart: Stewardship Testimony by Hazel Evans

We are called to give our money, time, and talents to help accomplish God's purposes in the world. We are to feed, clothe, and house the poor; heal the sick; and tell the world about our hope in Jesus Christ.
   
Knowing God changes our thinking: Life is not all about us; it is all about God's working through us. When we open every aspect of our lives to God's guidance, we become more effective disciples. We not only bless others as we share what God has given us; we are also blessed with trust that God will provide for our needs. God develops in us a greater sense of purpose and a peace that comes from surrendering to God's grace.
   
Some people are able to give large sums of money. Others have very little to spare but give it anyway. Or perhaps they give their time and service to others instead of money. Still others give sacrificially of their love and prayers.
   
In what spirit do I give to God? God measures our gift by the spirit that prompts us to give. Some whose gifts are considered great may not be giving from a generous heart. Others whose gifts may seem small are actually storing up true treasure by giving generously. In spite of her poverty, the widow in Jesus’ parable contributed all she had to live on, in faith that God would sustain her. Jesus recognized this gift as more precious than the offerings of the rich who gave out of their abundance. God does not desire offerings given out of obligation but out of our heart’s love.
   
Love is the principle of giving. Jesus summed up the reason for it when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). God knows and reveals that we receive a greater blessing by giving than by acquiring. God wants us to have blessings. But the way of most people today is to try to get more than they give.
   
Paul encouraged Timothy to not set his mind on worldly riches, but instead to "shun [the love of money]; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11). Paul then left a “commandment" for Timothy, and for us, to: "do good, be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share" (1 Tim. 6:18). We all know that everywhere in the world those who have ample possessions often desire to possess even more, to live above others and to control others' destiny. When we become unwilling to share, we have given up our stewardship and instead revel in our possession of God's world and of God's wealth. Paul does not condemn money itself; however, he does speak of the love of money as the root of all evil. (See verse 10.) The love of money leads to all sorts of selfish acts. But if we become generous and share our riches, we "store up for [ourselves] the treasure of a firm foundation for the future" (verse 19). Only then may we "take hold of the life" that is really worth living.
   
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for opportunities to share in the work of your kingdom. Help us to trust you as we give more generously and willingly of ourselves to promote your work. Lead us to love and serve you with our whole heart. May we listen to your words of challenge in the Bible to be faithful stewards of our money and ourselves so we can find abundant life when we give ourselves away. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
       
Hazel Evans, Member
LABC Stewardship Committee