22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
In the past couple of years, I have shifted my vocabulary about money, the church, and the Christian life from the wonderful old biblical word of “stewardship” to another wonderful old biblical word “generosity.”
I grew up around the church of Jesus Christ, and so over the years I had learned about the practice in the time of Jesus, where owners of the property would appoint a steward to manage their holdings. I had made the connection in my mind of how God truly owned all things in my life (and me), and so a life of stewardship meant caring for all that I had on loan from God, returning thanks and an appropriate portion to the Master. This understanding of receiving and giving made biblical sense, and I have tried to practice it for years.
Then a couple of years ago I was reminded that managing my material and financial gifts from God could also be described by another word that is found in the Bible – generosity. I have to admit that I think I knew that word was biblical, but it sounded more modern and secular than the word stewardship.
In looking deeper, I was amazed that generosity wasn’t just the way to describe how some people shared their money with others, but it was also a fruit of the Spirit. It made sense, though, that just like love, peace, and patience, the generous sharing of our things with others in God’s name may be something that happens in our lives when God’s presence fills us to overflowing.
God, stir within me in such a way that I will experience peace and joy as I generously participate in Your kingdom with all that I am and all that I have. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen