Need some ideas to get you started on sermons that will help your congregants see worship as a form of giving? We hope these thoughts will assist you!
Generosity as holiness: reflecting the image of God who gave
Central to our understanding of the creation narrative is that we are created in the Image of God (Gen. 1:27). While this image was tarnished in the fall, the Gospel is all about restoring the image. Scripture contains the story of God’s grace and generosity toward creation. If we are to be holy people, then we are to be shaped by the generosity of God, most evident in the sacri cial gift of Jesus (John 3:16).
Generosity toward those in need
The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37) is about hospitality, neighborliness, and nding holiness where we least expect it. It is also a story about extreme generosity. The Good Samaritan gave of his resources (time, energy, money) with no expectation of anything in return. The person portrayed as holy in the story was not the pious priest or the pure Levite, but the generous Samaritan.
Love the Lord with all your stuff
I was recently reminded that the word “strength” in Deuteronomy 6:5 could just as easily have been translated “very-ness” or “much-ness.” The meaning of the word encompasses the Greek translation of “power” and the Aramaic translation of “wealth.” We could just as easily say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your stuff.” This is a call to radical, passionate, generous stewardship of all that God has placed in our care.
Partnership with God
The promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3) extends to God’s people today. God desires to use us to be a blessing to all people. Scriptural examples are numerous: Mary and Joseph, the women who supported Jesus (Luke 8:1–3), and the believers who partnered with Paul (Phil. 1:3–5). God invites us to partner together in mission with all of our resources, including prayer, time, energy, and nancial gifts.
Stewardship as “leaving things better than we found them”
The parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30) forms the basis for our understanding of stewardship: caring for things that have
been entrusted to us. It is a parable about leaving things better than we found them. The people of God should leave everything we touch better than we found it: our family, our workplace, our church, our ministry, and our world. If we are going to leave our churches and ministries better than we found them, we will make signi cant investments into them.
What do you have in your hands? God can use it
I recently had the task of preaching on stewardship on Palm Sunday. As I contemplated the scriptural stories of Holy Week, I realized that it was full of people bringing the simple things they had in their hands to be used by God. The list is seemingly endless: a donkey, palm branches, cloaks, perfume, coins, an upper room, the strength of Simon of Cyrene, a tomb, linens, etc. When we consider the list, we realize that the gifts varied greatly in monetary value, but each was signi cant in the story of Jesus’ passion. The people of God are continually invited to o er the gifts in their hands to bring glory to God.
Perhaps the most obvious lesson from this passage (Luke 19:1–10) is the story of a transformed life. An encounter with Jesus immediately impacted Zacchaeus’ pocketbook. Not only did he make restitution, he gave generously beyond what he owed. We don’t know how it got there, but we do know that our generosity helps plant trees like the one Zacchaeus was in, so that others can see Jesus.