WEEK 1: Sunday, November 3 | When Dreams Become Nightmares & Wisdom and Finance
Our Stewardship Emphasis for 2019 is based on a book by Adam Hamilton titled Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity. We began last Sunday, November 3, with a message based on chapter 1 of that book, When Dreams Become Nightmares, and we incorporated some thoughts from chapter 2, Wisdom and Finance. The Gospel Lesson was taken from Luke 12:13-21, a story of a man who had acquired so much stuff that he had to build bigger barns to hold all of it. But then his 'soul was required of him,' and to whom would all of this stuff belong?
Our Old Testament Lesson was from the book of Ecclesiastes and it reminded us that 'accumulation' will never fill the holes in our hearts. So Stewardship begins in our hearts where only a relationship with the living God will fill the emptiness. If all of our resources are directed at things that do not satisfy, then there is nothing left to give toward the mission and ministry of Jesus the Christ and His Church.
WEEK 2: Sunday, November 10 | Cultivating Contentment
On the second Sunday of our stewardship focus, we continued our 2019 Stewardship Journey using Adam Hamilton's book Enough as our guide. Godliness and Contentment was our focus. We began by talking about the relationship between our faith and our wealth, asking the question, "Does it pay to be a Christian?" Dr. Billy Graham once said: "Tell me what you think about money, and I can tell you what you think about God, for these two are closely related. A person's heart is closer to his or her wallet than anything else."
Our Scriptural focus was on 1 Timothy 5:6-7..."Of course, there is great gain in Godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it..."
Some folks seem to "have it all," but inwardly they are empty. Others appear to have nothing, but inwardly they are fulfilled--content. The contented & the generous are often the same people. "Seek first the kingdom of God..."
WEEK 3: Sunday, November 17 | Defined by Generosity
On this final Sunday of our Stewardship focus, we learned that God designed us to be a generous people. However, it is all too easy to listen instead to the voices of fear and self-gratification: "What if I give and then don't have enough for myself?" (Fear); "Sure, I could give to my church, but then I wouldn't have enough for _______." (Self-gratification). From Rev. Hamilton: "As we put our faith in Jesus Christ and grow spiritually, we silence these voices and become more and more generous."
As we move forward as a church discovering joy through simplicity and generosity, may we as individuals--and then together as the body--fully put our trust in God, opening ourselves up to a life of faithful stewardship.