Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Giving to God" by Mark Allen Powell

About this time of year many churches are talking about stewardship or holding their annual pledge drive. Our church is no different. Sunday will be my annual, "Here's why you ought to give your money to the church" sermon. I don't mind talking about money, but sometimes I feel my message is sophisticated begging.

Helping put stewardship in proper perspective is a book by Mark Allan Powell entitled, "Giving to God: The Bible's Good News about Living a Generous Life." While I haven't even finished the first chapter, each page thus far is insightful and thought provoking.

The book is divided into two parts. The first illumines the biblical meaning of stewardship. It is, "a joy filled aspect of our relationship with God and describes giving to God as an act of worship, an expression of faith, and a discipline for spiritual growth." The second part explores the practical application of giving our money. While Powell knows that biblical stewardship is more than just money, he knows too that giving money is often the most difficult part of stewardship.

Pastors will find plenty of ideas for sermons and those wanting to expand their knowledge and appreciation of stewardship will be richly rewarded.

Here's a choice morsel from page 22 of Powell's book:
In his book Stewards of God, Milo Kauffman relates the story of a poor Hindu in Nepal who brought the last of his rice as an offering to his god. A neighbor told him, "You must not do that. You have to live." His answer was, "No, I don't have to live. But I do have to worship" (p. 174).

At some level, this man was experiencing the same truth as the widow Jesus met in the Temple (Mark 12:41-43). To be perfectly honest, I am a little troubled by both stories because, on a common sense level, I don't know if it is really a good idea for poor men and women to give their last bowls of rice or copper coins (or Social Security checks for that matter) to religious causes... But on another level, one that is less invested in "common sense," I do understand the motivation: for those who make the discovery, worship is what makes life worthwhile.

No comments: