“When you give only your money, you give very little; it is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
A poor church is not one without money, but one without a vision. When people have a clear Biblical and theological understanding of the mission of the church, healthy stewardship practices emerge. The New Testament church leaders discovered that stewardship did not come naturally; it was a learned discipline. Paul wrote to his young colleague Timothy to teach the people in Ephesus that “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” (1 Timothy 6:6-7). We might say it this way: we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give away.
The Book of Order is explicit in its stewardship emphasis:
“Giving has always been a mark of Christian commitment and discipleship. The ways in which a believer uses God’s gifts of material goods, personal abilities, and time should reflect a faithful response to God’s self-giving in Jesus Christ and Christ’s call to minister to and share with others in the world. Tithing is a primary expression of the Christian discipline of stewardship.”
“Those who follow the discipline of Christian stewardship will find themselves called to lives of simplicity, generosity, honesty, hospitality, compassion, receptivity, and concern for the earth and God’s creatures.”
“The Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In worship the people are presented with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ, are claimed and set free by him, and are led to respond by offering to him their lives, their particular gifts and abilities, and their material goods.