Asbury United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors
We are members of Christ's Church, personally engaged in spiritual growth, outreach, and fellowship. (Asbury UMC's Vision Statement)
In this season of stewardship and thanksgiving the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers these eight key beliefs that highlight how the Christian view of money and giving differs from our cultural view:
1. GIVING not acquiring provides ultimate meaning...The basis of our consumer driven economy is the goal of acquiring. We are defined by what we have. In contrast, a Christian sense of ultimate meaning is derived not from what we gain, but from what we give, or even sacrifice.
• Ultimate meaning is derived not from what we gain but what we give • God is generous
• Created in God’s image, humans are generous by design
2. Giving is a JOY not an obligation...Our culture says giving is something one does reluctantly. It is at best an obligation. The Christian faith says giving is a joy. It is the joyful response to God’s generosity, grace, and love.
3. Giving is for EVERYONE not just the rich...Our society says giving is only for the rich, for people who have so much money they couldn’t possibly know what to do with it. Bill Gates and Oprah are the people who can give. Christians believe that everyone can and should give – even the poor widow who offered her mite at the temple.
4. We are STEWARDS of possessions not owners...Our economy is based on an assumption of private ownership. We possess and control the things that we thing are ours. Whereas faith is sees things through the lens of stewardship. Everything belongs to God, not us. Proper stewardship allows us to work in partnership with God in common purpose.
5. DISCIPLESHIP involves accountability in giving...Americans tend to view the subject of income and finances as a highly private matter. Most Americans are deeply committed to economic self determination and consumer sovereignty. Whereas the Christian world view says that how we regard money and possessions is part of accountable discipleship lived out in Christian community.
• Faithful Stewardship is inherent to Discipleship • Discipleship involves Accountability
6. FAITH that God provides for our needs...Our economic system is grounded in a paradigm of fear and risk. We must protect our own interests, look out for number one. The Christian world view is grounded in the faith that God will care for us and provide for our needs.
7. God’s ABUNDANCE is sufficient...An underlying assumption of a capitalist economy is that goods and services are scarce and must be rationed. Scarcity says there is never enough. Abundance says God has already given us everything we really need. Scarcity says the glass is always half empty. Abundance says our cup is overflowing.
• Most Christians could give more if they adjusted their spending priorities
• Most Americans think they are “just getting by” when they are in fact better of than any previous generation
8. Faithful giving yields a KINGDOM difference...The world thinks about giving in terms of a cost and benefit equation. People give only if the calculus is right. Christians are interested in making a Kingdom difference. This is transformational thinking as opposed to transactional logic.