Friday, May 10, 2013

For the pod: Lessons from a lifetime of stewardship

I am/ We are starting to think more about money (which most of us avoid) and this is not just because Jesus seems to suggest this is a good idea. I know, as you do, that it is so easy to tick things along and to not enact changes/ practices that will over the long term produce great impact for good or ill. First things first -you're justified by faith in Jesus not through the state of your finances or how much you do or don't give away so ultimately, if you're saved, you can relax. However, there will be a day of reckoning and on that day we will all give an account for everything and this includes how we stewarded all we were given. Some of Jesus's parables are bone-shakingly challenging on this as you know.

I, perhaps like you, am desperate to pierce my remaining fears around money, security, the future, lack of generosity, consumerism and my many misplaced priorities and reliances. Jesus said 'Today has enough worries of its own' yet so many if us live way too much in the tomorrow. This is no more so than with regard to money and possessions.

Please do watch 'Significance in the Ordinary'
by Zack Erswine

I can't remember the book that has spoken to me as much as Sensing Jesus has and is. I am reading it slowly and prayerfully and seem to be underlining and re-reading almost every sentence in it. Particularly if you are a pastor, you would do well not to miss this life-changing read and if you read it with an open heart it will reveal truths to you that you probably don't like to acknowledge. 

'This is the day, says Wendell Berry, "when the road neither comes nor goes, and the way is not a way but a place." Forward requires a present and a past. "There" is not always preferable to"here", because the requirements of love are the same in both places. Furthermore, "here" is the only genuine way one can travel "there", at least if one intends to give shade when inhabiting either place. Consequently, I must not imagine where I will be without standing where I am"
Sensing Jesus Page 68

Driscoll's talk called Planning might be the kick you need to get everything out on the kitchen table in order to have a good look at your time and its allocation and your spending, saving and giving. Stewardship in its broadest context must include both how you spend your time and how you spend and prioritise your resources.

This talk called 'Lessons from a lifetime of stewardship' might also be a spring board to you looking at your money, how you spend it, what you are investing in and assessing the level of your generosity. Many readers won't bother listening to the talk so I will share one story from it that impacted me.

'Ron Blue has five kids and thirteen grandchildren and is 72. His children and grandchildren ask him what he wants for Christmas and he acknowledges that he doesn't need anything. At his age, if he wants something he can just go out and buy it. So what he does is he gives each of his grandchildren $200 to give away and his gift from them to him is he asks them to write him a letter tellling them how they gave it away and what happened. This is building an extraordinary number of family generosity stories and is teaching them the truth that it is indeed more blessed to give away.'

I also listened a while back to Sowing and reaping by Craig Groschl and his amazing testimony to his being called to be radically generous. Groschl always recommends 'The Blessed Life' by Robert Morris as his
go to book on the power of giving stuff away and money (the book does have a whiff of the prosperity gospel about it, but on balance I thinks it's basically a good encouragement to give more away and we can all do that more effectively).

Another book that's come on my radar is Money by Jamie Munson which you can buy for two quid on kindle.


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