Home SPARK: Stewardship as Our Witness

SPARK: Stewardship as Our Witness

By Ken Sloane

Congregation worshiping in church

My attendance at the General Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, caused me to miss attending worship at my church for three Sundays in a row! General Conference starts each day with worship, so I rationalized I was building up some credit!

Though I couldn’t be at my church in person, I was able to participate in the offering; we use the church’s electronic giving platform to schedule our giving. It is a way I make a witness in support of the ministry and mission outreach of my church even when I can’t be there.

Stewardship is a witness to our faith, even if it is not something we do out loud. Sometimes it is just a witness to remind ourselves that everything is a gift from a loving God, and we get to experience the joy of generosity through our giving.

Stewardship is a witness to our faith, even if it is not something we do out loud.

We also get to make a witness by making our gift “the first fruits” by being intentional about that being the first item to be paid when we get our biweekly paycheck. I realize it doesn’t make a difference to the church’s financial statement whether it comes on Friday or Monday, but it feels different to me. I don’t want to give to God from what’s left over, but to make that gift first.

When I was a young pastor and visited homebound church members, I was always impressed when they handed me a stack of offering envelopes, one for each Sunday and each filled with the bills they wanted to add to the church offering. I knew it would be easier to catch up with one check in one envelope, but it was their way of marking the Sunday, and it was their witness. It was a witness to me, whether they knew it or not, and something I have never forgotten.

Here is a question to ponder: “What kind of witness does my giving to Christ’s mission and ministry make? If to no one else, how does it make me feel?” I’ve never liked the expression, “Give until it hurts.” I’ve always found that if it hurts, I need to do a little better and give until it feels better -- where I feel good about the witness my stewardship is making!

Ken Sloane is the Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church.

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