The Generosity Project is a collaborative effort between ABCUSA, regions, and local congregations. The Generosity Project aims to help pastors re-frame the conversation around stewardship and generosity in their congregations. Bi-monthly blogs help support new growth and understanding as we deepen our ministry and discipleship. The reflection below was provided by Rev. Stacy Emerson.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God…” ~Colossians 3:17
In her book, The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist quotes her mentor in fundraising, Joan Holmes, who challenged contributors “to be known for what you allocate, not what you accumulate.”
How aware are we of the ways we allocate rather than accumulate? It seems to me that allocation is an activity grounded in 3 things—discernment, priority, and investment.
Discernment means paying attention to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the longing of our inner spirit. Discernment is the prayerful process of prioritizing and putting our efforts where God sends us.
Priority means identifying the things that are most important. Jesus summed it up in the greatest commandment “to love God and neighbor.” Allocating our resources of time, talent, treasure and temperament places priority on increasing the blessing of God in the world through generosity and nourishing the things we care about as we love God and our neighbors.
Investment means making the dreams of God come true through the intentional use of everything we have been given. Investing in mission and ministry and activity that accomplishes the work of God. When we do that, we enable the flourishing of God’s blessed intentions for us, for our neighbors, and for the earth.
“Accumulating” is a self-absorbed act but “allocation” is the intentional connection and partnership we make with God to bring about God’s plans. In this sharing of what we have and who we are, we become the conduit for God’s love in the world, and this is what being people of faith is all about.
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.