A team working together around the challenge of stewardship in the 21st century has worked hard over the past eighteen months to put together “The Generosity Project,” a pilot program running from Sept. 2017 – Dec. 2018 which will work to provide stewardship resources and support to a cohort group of pastors from New England regions. Members of the team have prepared blogs for “The Generosity Project” participants, which will also be shared on the ABCUSA website in the coming months. To learn more about The Generosity Project, click here.
Stewards of God’s Mysteries
by Rev. Stacy Emerson
“Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
~1 Corinthians 4:1-2
What does it mean to be “stewards of God’s mysteries”? And how should we relate to the task of stewardship? What an awesome responsibility! We have this incredible treasure gifted by an abundant God—life and breath, relationships and the communion of the church, the gospel and Good News of God’s love made manifest in Jesus…This is where we begin, then, at the very heart of God. These mysteries found there are not ours to own, define, limit, or squirrel away. In fact, the followers of Christ are called to share with abundant generosity, even to the ends of the earth. Such is the substance of servanthood in Christ.
Being found trustworthy, then, begins with humility for the task. We are the tenders, the caretakers of the mysteries of God, and we recognize that all we have and all we are come from God and not our own design. Starting there, we find at first the joy of gratitude for such blessing. Gratitude is the grounding place for faith. In our thankfulness, we sense our creation by a loving, generous God who yearns for our wholeness. We find wonder and amazement for the gift of life—it its frailty and in its strength.
Stewards then go on to nurture these gifts within and without. Within the spirit of the steward, gratitude expands into generosity and the expression of faith begins. Gratitude and generosity then go hand in hand. The one fills us and the other flows from us as gratitude in action. Generosity brings forth the gifts and abundance of God in sharing—until healing and justice—economically, spiritually, and communally—abound. The “trustworthy steward” senses the power of these tasks and grounded in God, serves ceaselessly to share the love of God.
Rev. Stacy Emerson is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in West Hartford, CT and the Stewardship Consultant for ABCUSA. She is also the Coordinator for The Generosity Project which is about helping congregations deepen their understanding of stewardship as a call to generosity as disciples of Jesus; re-framing the stewardship conversation; and cultivating generosity in pastors, lay people, and congregations.