Sharing from God's Abundance
Paul encouraged generosity at all times: "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." (II Corinthians 8:2) Stewardship--to serve as one who manages another's property, finances or other affairs--is not just means for the church to raise money. It is a way of life that recognizes that everything we have is God's, and we are simply managing those resources while here on earth. The Bible is filled with examples of grateful response to God's generous gifts. The Bible also teaches about our personal responsibility to share with others and warns against selfishness and misuse of God's economic resources.
The Methodist Approach to Stewardship
John Wesley urged those in connection with him to "Earn all you can and save all you can, so that you can give all you can." He modeled modest living and sacrificial giving. Wesley made sure those early classes of "methodists" took weekly offerings to help others in need. Today, we United Methodists join others to help all of God's children, whenever and wherever we can--just as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes when the crowd grew hungry. Through our congregation, we are the heart, spirit and hands of God's outreaching love. Life grows here through the joy of generosity.
Practicing Good Stewardship
How can you learn and practice good Christian stewardship? Pray about your regular giving to God's ministry and mission. Model the humility and generosity God calls you to do. Set up a schedule to eventually reach full tithing (10% of your income), or begin by tithing one week of every month. Give your time, talents and financial aid to Missions. Remember Grace in your will or estate plan through the Grace Church Foundation.
The Bible speaks frequently of money and wealth and emphasizes the importance or generous giving, wise investment, debt management, prudent fiscal oversight, and appropriate attitude:
"He who oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to want."(Proverbs 22:16)
"He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust you to the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:10-13)
"Precious treasure remains in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it." (Proverbs 21:20)
"For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs." (I Timothy 6:10)
Stewardship and Finance Giving is spiritually based! We, as Christians, are called to be stewards who respond to our giftedness. Grace UMC's Stewardship and Finance Committee seeks, led by the Spirit, to provide financial direction, budgeting, funding, management of the budget, recording and communicating financial information, and financial oversight for our ministries. In keeping with solid practices, our finances are audited independently on an annual basis. The funding of our ministries is a year-round endeavor; however, a special effort to encourage financial commitment is conducted annually in the fall to estimate a final budget for ongoing ministry. Special gifts and designated gifts add to our ability to minister to the local community as well as the world community in the name of Christ.