2010 - A Year of Stewardship Hope
As I reviewed a few articles from fall 2008 through 2009, I was struck by the trend of the article focus. First they were mostly a call to alarm about the economy. Then it was a call to cut back, save, even hoard as the sky IS falling. That turned to reflection as the sky did not fall, not EVERYONE lost their jobs and became poor, and the United States did not turn into a Third World country.
The reflection articles have taken a focus to become more inward looking and thinking. What is important in my life? What do I value? Where is God in my life? Is God my source? I have read things from economists, to pastors, to futurists, to researchers. All seem to be taking a moment to catch their breath and look at what we can learn from this 18-month change tsunami!
I challenge each of us as ministers of development to use stewardship as our foundation of hope for the seekers we will come in contact with in 2010. They will be seeking truth and hope amidst a culture that would promote fear.
This is your opportunity to teach, model, and demonstrate how stewardship is:
- A foundation built upon a relationship with an Owner who is not affected by economic trends.
- A philosophy of life that is holistic and involves all areas of life, not just money.
- A belief that generosity changes the giver, who looks at life differently than someone who is not generous.
- A spiritual discipline that transforms the giver.
- A lifestyle that blesses others, but also blesses the giver even more.
- A way to make a difference in others and the world.
- NOT just about money, but connection.
- The future of the church. For if we do not get this right, and soon, there may not be any more church or para-church.
OK, my last one may be a bit of an alarmist comment. But I mean this with a sincere heart. I believe the future of the church, meaning all of us not just organizationally, is dependent on people learning to be givers, not just receivers. Second Corinthians 8:7 exhorts us to excel in faith, love, earnestness for each other, and IN THE GRACE OF GIVING. Paul believes that being generous is a key part of walking this life as a Christian.
And isn't that the call of the church - to live a life of following Jesus in every area of our lives?
Stewardship is not about budgets, fundraising, or goals. It is about the journey each one of us is on as we move through life learning and growing and abiding in Christ. In other words - discipleship. Being a disciple of Jesus means to live a life of generosity.
By choosing to be a good steward we are choosing to be a good disciple. When we are abiding in Christ our lives take on a different focus, priorities, and contentment.
So when you come into contact during this new year with donors who are fearful, uncertain, holding back, or even becoming stingy, do not think of them as just a source of money. Look at them as a concerned or even uneducated steward. Assist them on their journey. Help them find the peace and joy that comes with being a good steward and a good disciple.
Your calling this year might be more difficult than in years past. But that is nothing to fear for you have the hope that stewardship brings to everyone who seeks to please the Owner of it all. For in this we find contentment, and what could be a better blessing during these days than contentment?
Have a great year of stewardship hope!
Dr. John R. Frank, CFRE