The Joy of Generous Community
God told us in Mark 12:30-31 that there was no commandment greater than these:
- To love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and
- To love our neighbor as ourselves
Extreme joy is experiencing God’s generous “saving” grace. His washing us white; no matter our story. Every day after He invites us to commune with Him. If we’ve stewarded His invite well, it’s been a wonderful, sacred journey. And if we’ve become bold stewards, we now walk hand-in-hand with Him all day long – as naturally as breathing – and allow Him to rudder our seeing, listening and decision-making. Ah, the joy of that!
With our neighbor
But are our lives set up to regularly see, hear and grow in generosity and joy with “our neighbor”? Or do we find ourselves so locked into the business of our church or parachurch that we are cut short to simply “be the church”?
For a long time my stewardship view included the 3T’s of “time, talent and treasure”. However recently I read of a 4th T “touch” in Stewardship as a Lifestyle by my dear friend Dr. John Frank – and I felt God smile. In his book, John talks about the yearning for a more holistic approach to the life of the steward. Consequently, I now think of generosity and stewardship as simply:
- Being the church – how we see, listen and touch in response to what God orchestrates daily?
- Generous community – what we do daily with whatever resources we have?
So what scriptural lessons did He give us here?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37). When asked to define “who is my neighbor”, He lifted up the Samaritan who (having the least reason to stop) had mercy right then and there; rescuing, taking, caring for, and allowing for future care.
A steward is joyfully willing to step up and pay forward
Acts 2:42-47’s “The Fellowship of the Believers”. At the height of biblical flourishing the scene was this: a) devotion to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and to prayer, b) filled with awe at the many wonders and sign, c) all believers together with everything in common (selling property and possessions to provide for anyone with need) and every day meeting together in the temple courts, d) breaking bread in their homes and eating together with glad and sincere hearts (praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people), and e) the Lord adding to their number daily those who were being saved.
A steward is a fountain of joy; continually poured into and through and oh, the power possible when we do it together!
In our present age of big church and big data — yet our society of so much “bowling alone” — are we missing out on the pure, simple “attraction” joy of generous community?
Donna Mace is co-principal and strategic innovator, M-Clarity, LLC. Her heart is ravenous in pursuit of transformational generosity and its potential to help redefine “community” as a place where givers and receivers share together in robust community with God. She is also a CLA presenter, a Stewardship Summit presenter and faculty advisor, and a member of her church’s Stewardship Committee.
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