This is the season when many congregations look at stewardship and generosity. The peripheral member thinks pastors use words like these to w hide the fact that they are just asking for money. Perhaps some do. A long time ago I cam to the conviction that giving is one pathway to a happier and healthier life. God encourages us to give because it is good for us. So here are a few quotations that I have collected that speak about how the goodness of generosity makes live better.
Rufus Jones in New Eyes for Invisibles:
There is a remarkable saying in the little Book of Obadiah that, in a happier coming time, “the House of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” It sounds like tautology, but there may be a fresh depth of life in this ancient saying. It isn’t everybody who actually possesses his possessions, and we may perhaps discover that this is a live issue for us today. p. 38
Evelyn Underhill in The School of Charity:
We believe that the tendency to give, to share, to cherish, is the mainspring of the universe, ultimate cause of all that is, and reveals the Nature of God: and, therefore, that when we are most generous we are most living and most real. p. 10
A. T. Pierson:
How little can I spare for God and satisfy His claims and my conscience? We should invert the terms and ask, How little can I expend upon myself and yet satisfy my actual needs, and how much can I thus spare for God? The missionary imperative affords new opportunity and incentive for the culture of this supreme grace. Giving will bring its true blessing, its greater blessing only when systematic and self-denying.
Douglas LeBlanc, in Tithing – Test Me In This:
When you give of yourself, to a faith community and to others, that’s one of the places where you get to discover the image of God that is within you. The essence of God is always to be giving. God is a giver. God is a giver of life; God is a giver of health; God is a giver of forgiveness; God is a giver of mercy and compassion; God is a giver of energy to transform the world to be a just and peaceful place. I think that there is a spiritual phenomenon that goes on when you give generously. The by-product is joy and happiness, but the deepest thing that is going on is that you’re expressing the image of God within you. I think that people feel connected with God in a way that’s as powerful as having a mystical experience during prayer or while gazing at the sunset. p. 116
What I always say to people is that if you take the standard of 10 percent and say God required it of the poorest people in Old Testament Israel, and now that we’re under the grace of Jesus and we have the indwelling Holy Spirit and we live in this incredibly affluent culture, do you think he would expect less of us? p. 64