Last Sunday evening I spoke at a CBF Oklahoma event. I rarely make my way up north, but when I do I make sure to stop and see my grandmother. I decided to surprise her for lunch. She did her usual, “You couldn’t call so I could at least have my teeth in?”
As we sat at the table, my mother and uncle knocked on the door and joined us for a beautiful communion of fried mushrooms and a large Little Kahuna pizza from Hideaway Pizza — an Oklahoma favorite. We talked and laughed about cousins doing crazy things and memories of back in the day. My uncle asked me what I have been preaching on lately, and I answered “stewardship.” As if they had rehearsed it, the three of them at the same time said, “You can’t beat God’s giving.” It was something my Grandpa Willie — a saint I remember on this All Saints Sunday — would say often from the pulpit, reminding the congregation, “We freely give because God has freely given to us.”
As we have talked about generosity these couple of weeks, we remember that generosity is something that is given from your soul. Not because you feel like you must, but because you feel called to help care and create. Called to recognize “there is something beyond myself that has allowed me to offer.” Called to see the gospel move outside these walls. Called to see how the mission of Christ is instilled in all of us, but differently in each of us. Giving out of a place of generosity allows us to ask questions. How do we as a congregation, as a church — body of Christ, fellowship of saints — continue the story of generations before us and pass the baton to generations after us?
I truly believe we are continuing the vision of this church that was started by the Spirit and the saints that have come before us. But it takes all of us, the saints in these seats right here, participating.
Generosity is not something we do, but it is a quality of who we are. By giving, we are taking what we have to accomplish our God-given mission — individually and together — in our congregation. Christian stewards are kingdom bringers who align their lives and mission with God’s intentions for God’s world.