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Michael Durall: Creating congregations of generous people

“When I took on a stewardship role in my own congregation, I didn’t view myself as God’s messenger. I thought my job was to raise money for the church; i.e. fundraising. Once involved, however, I was surprised at how engrossed I became in the stewardship process, and the powerful sense of ownership that ensued. I felt my congregation wasn’t engaged sufficiently in the stewardship conversation–there was so much to discuss and learn. It has been a wonderful experience for me, and I hope it will be for you too.”

Michael Durall in Creating Congregations of Generous People (Herndon, VA: Alban Institute, 1999) 9.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 2 Corinthians 9:12

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John Ortberg: Being rich toward God

“Being rich toward God begins with giving to God that which we desires most of all. And what he desires most from you is you–your heart and devotion. Just as God can give us many gifts but the best gift is himself, so we can offer God our resources and acts of service, but the gift he desires most is us.” (cf. Luke 12:13-21).

John Ortberg in When the Game is Over it All Goes Back in the Box (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007) 28.

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Henri J. M. Nouwen on Security and Trust

“What is our security base? God or Mammon? That is what Jesus would ask. He says that we cannot put our security in God and also in money. We have to make a choice. Jesus counsels: ‘Put your security in God.’ We have to make a choice where we want to belong, to the world or to God. Our trust, our basic trust, Jesus teaches, has to be in God. As long as our real trust is in money, we cannot be true members of the Kingdom. All those questions I asked were simply to help us consider whether we are, perhaps, still putting our security in money. ‘Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves’ (Prov. 11:28) What is the true base of our security.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen in The Spirituality of Fundraising ( 2004, 15.

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Clare of Assisi: The Power of Money

“Perhaps the power of money lies in this, that more than most things, it reveals where we stand.”

Clare of Assisi in This Living Mirror: Reflections of Clare of Assisi, by Frances Teresa (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1995) 164.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also. Matthew 5:19-21

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Patrick Henry and the Measure of True Wealth

“Patrick Henry wrote into his will that if he had left nothing in terms of worldly riches but had given his heirs a faith in Jesus Christ, then they were of all people most wealthy. Conversely, he added that if he had left them all the wealth in the world but had not left them a faith in Jesus Christ, they would be of all people most destitute.”

Patrick Henry cited by Richard Foster in The Challenge of the Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex and Power (Harper: San Francisco, 1985) 82.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever wants to lose his life for me and for the Gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Mark 8:35-36

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A Prayer of Francis of Assisi and a Promise from the Apostle Paul

“God, make me a steward of your bounty. Where there is need, let me see it; where there is abundance, let me share it; where there is time, let me spend it; and where there is treasure, let me use it to your glory.”

St. Francis of Assisi quoted in Michael O’Hurley-Pitts The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising (St. Brigid: Toronto, 2001) 13.

And God is able to make all grace about to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

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Scott Rodin: The state of stewardship in the church

“Because of the lack of sound teaching on stewardship, the image of the steward offered by the church has become blurred. Perhaps the primary understanding today of the term steward is one who shares one’s own resources with others. Here the characteristic mark of the biblical steward—handling with integrity the resources of another—is completely lost. Being a godly steward has been reduced to nothing more than being a good investor or philanthropist or business owner. While these are all vestiges of what being a steward might look like, they miss the mark by staying in an “ownership frame” that is completely foreign to the biblical notion of steward. This is an image that will be hard to unseat in the church.”

R. Scott Rodin Stewards in the Kingdom: A Theology of Life in all its Fullness (IVP: Downers Grove, IL, 2000) 28.

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1

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Patrick McNamara echoes Peter on the use of our gifts

“Each of us is entrusted with a particular set of created gifts and good things we have been given in this life. Each of us is responsible for how these gifts are used; we will someday have to give our own account.”

Patrick H. McNamara in More than Money: Portraits of Transformative Stewardship.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10

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Richard Baxter: How to sanctify your stuff

“Every man must render to God the things that are God’s and that let it be remembered is all that he is and all he possesses. How are all things sanctified to us, but in the separation and dedication of them to God? Are they not all his talents, and must be employed in his service? Must not every Christian first ask, In what way may I most honour God with my substance? Do we preach these things to our people?”

Richard Baxter in The Reformed Pastor (The Religious Tract Society: London, England 1982) 77.

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Joan Chittister: Things

“The Hasidim tell the story of the visitor who went to see a very famous rabbi and was shocked at the sparcity, the bareness, the emptiness of his little one-room house. ‘Why don’t you have any furniture?’ the visitor asked. ‘Why don’t you?’ the rabbi said. ‘Well, because I’m only passing through,’ the visitor said. ‘Well, so am I,’ the rabbi answered.

On the journey to heaven, things tie us to the earth. We can’t move to another city because we have a huge mortgage on the house in this one. We can’t take care of a sick neighbor because we are too busy taking care of our own hedges. We go poor giving parties in the hope for big promotions. We get beholden to the people who give big parties back. We take things and hoard things and give things to control our little worlds and the things wind up controlling us. They clutter our space; they crimp our hearts; they sour our souls.

Benedict says that the answer is that we not allow ourselves to have anything beyond life’s simple staples in the first place and that we not use things–not even the simplest things–to restrict the life of another by giving gifts that tie another person down. Benedictine simplicity, then, is not a deprivation. It frees us for all of life’s surprises.”

Joan Chittister in The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Slough: St. Paul’s 1992) 108.

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