Excel in the Grace of Giving
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I must say that I really enjoy studying and meditating on this verse in 2nd Corinthians 8:7. The apostle Paul is saying that just as we excel at love, fellowship, and faith, we must also excel in the grace of giving. It is an important part of our discipleship.
Unfortunately, when we look at the pulpit messages about love, fellowship and faith and compare them to pulpit messages about exceling in the grace of giving, we can get a good idea about why the knowledge and implementation of biblical stewardship is so low in the church.
Brian Kluth writes in his annual State of the Plate research (BrianKluth.org) observed that the churches who met or exceeded their goals taught stewardship from the pulpit. When God's people are taught biblical stewardship, it is amazing what happens. And the inverse is true as well. When it is NOT taught, the decline in stewardship and discipleship is measurable.
The 2015 Stewardship Summit was held at Cru Headquarters in Orlando, FL January 6-8. We had a wonderful experience filled with amazing papers on international stewardship, a pastor's view of stewardship, a city-wide stewardship application and others. Between the seven papers were times of discussion, questions, and building relationships in the stewardship community.
I encourage you to download and read the papers when they are available on the www.StewardshipSummit.org website. They will inform and challenge you and will be a great resource for your library. I am also working on getting the presentations on podcasts. I will keep you posted.
It is always so encouraging to be at the Summit with those involved in God's movement to teach the church to excel in the grace of giving. This challenge by Paul is a holistic challenge about not just money, but our entire lives including our time, talent, creation, our priorities, our faith, and all of life.
I hope you can find time to study this chapter and the centrality of this 7th verse and its statement about the importance of generosity in our lives.
On a personal note, you will see I have changed my company name. After a number of years as The Frank Group, I am simplifying and updating my focus. I am now offering coaching in development and leadership, as well as continuing in consulting onsite to those clients on the western portion of the US. After 22 years of flying 100,000+ miles I need to cut back.
So if I can serve you or someone you know in a coaching role, please pass my name along. I am in the process of updating my website with the new information. As always, if you have any comments or questions, just email back to me. I always enjoy the comments and exchange.
Many blessings to you in your new year of stewardship and the ministry of development!