1. A true disciple regards everything they have as a blessing from God, and willingly shares it.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. – Matthew 6:21Where we spend our money indicates the things that matter to us most. Money can ensnare us in this world and keep us chained to the American vice of materialism or we can use money to spread God’s kingdom. Just as what we treasure reveals our heart, reallocating our treasure reorients our heart away from earthly values and toward more meaningful treasure. Giving is not only an indication of where our heart is, but it is also a means of moving our heart toward God in a never-ending journey. “Steward-disciples recognize God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and are.” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Stewardship; A Disciple’s Response)
2. God is the Ultimate Giver
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son… – John 3:16God is the most generous of all givers. God gave at a level beyond anything we can imagine when he gave us his son for our salvation. God has blessed us with everything we need in order to live out his purpose for our life. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Paul presents a model that explains the origin and result of our generosity. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God (v.11), for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God (v.12). Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others (v.13). The call is for us to imitate the extravagant giving God first gave to us.
3. God owns it all
The earth is the LORD’s and all it holds, the world and those who dwell in it. – Psalms 24:1We own nothing and everything we have comes from a good and gracious God. No matter how much importance we place on money and material possessions they are fleeting and only belong to us temporarily. We are privileged to be stewards of God’s blessings. Our money is never ours to spend as we choose; our money is God’s and we must spend as he directs.
4. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God
But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. – Matthew 6:33Jesus assures us that we do not have to worry about our earthly life because God has promised always to take care of us. And with earthly matters in God’s hands, we are free to pursue more spiritual matters, seeking first and above all else, God’s kingdom and his righteousness through spiritual intimacy. Intimacy with Christ offers the highest levels of satisfaction both right now and for eternity.
5. Heaven, not Earth, is my home
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. – Philippians 3:20Life is short. Eternity is long. And my home is in heaven. Just as the Catholic Church refers to itself as “The Pilgrim Church on Earth,” each of us is also a pilgrim. We are simply here for a short period of time. The simple concept of being a pilgrim challenges us to ask why we invest so much time, energy, and resources in the things of this world, which are so fleeting. It isn’t wrong for us to spend money on things that are temporary, however, if we have an eternal perspective and understand that heaven, not earth, is our real home, then we can put the things of this world into their proper perspective.
6. Giving brings joy
. . . keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35Our life becomes joyful, fulfilling, and purposeful as we live in God’s calling. Joy is experienced in the act of giving, but even more so in the alignment of our heart with God’s will. As generosity comes into our heart, it blesses us in ways we know in the moment, in ways we recognize over a lifetime, and in ways that are revealed to us only in eternity. Generosity enables us to live in the joy of a “life that is truly life.”
7. Giving is an opportunity not an obligation
Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life. – 1 Timothy 6:18-19The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Stewardship; A Disciple’s Response, call us to consider giving as an opportunity. “One of the most frequently asked questions in any stewardship educational program is ‘How much do I have to give?’ The answer (from a stewardship perspective) is nothing. We don’t have to give anything. ‘How much do we want to give?’ is the question that stewardship asks. Stewardship is not minimum giving. It is maximum giving. That means giving as much as we can, as often as we can, from the heart as a faith response because we are generous stewards who want to share our time, talent, and treasure with others.” A life of generosity—for all who know Christ—means the opportunity to draw closer to God, now, and in eternity. It means joy, a fulfilled heart, and the potential to store up treasures in heaven.
8. People are transformed through the Holy Spirit.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16Alone, we are powerless to transform others, yet we can be used by the Holy Spirit as tools in his work of transforming the lives of others. Becoming a generous giver, detached from materialism is a transformation that can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit.