As the stewardship workshop came to a close, she raised her hand as God had laid something on her heart. She shared that she was one of those people who did not take her giving seriously. She suffered through the annual stewardship appeal waiting for it to end. She didn’t want to serve on council because of the guilt she felt over not tithing. She shared that she felt shame for not being generous.
As she spoke, I could tell that she felt a tremendous sense of relief. She shared that her parents never taught her how to give because money just wasn’t talked about. In an email to me the next day she shared the following: “I need to refocus my treasure to where my heart already is. Living in two different worlds isn’t working. I know I am not the only person in the church in this situation so maybe my stepping out and being transparent will encourage others. Its very scary but I feel God’s hand in this.”
Often, without noticing or trying, our stewardship efforts cause shame. Not because we ask people for too much, but because we don’t treat them as a person. We need to focus on growth. We need to ask people to move from where they are to where they can be more generous. We need to challenge people but not offend them based on where they are.
Stewardship should be life-giving as we attach the treasures that God provides us to the ministry that touches people’s lives. By doing sloppy stewardship, we cause shame. By taking the time to treat people like individuals, we can help them grow and help them move into that abundant life that Jesus talks about. I often tell congregational leaders it is okay to treat people different as long as they don’t treat anyone better.
CFRE, M. Div., Partner
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