Since generosity echoes God's love, practicing it in our lives and congregations is essential. Our contributors explore the distinctive features of Christian generosity, its central role in discipleship, and why its practice is so difficult in a consumerist culture.
A generous spirit is often impeded by presumption or despair - which are believing we can control our happiness, or giving up on it. Either view, Doug Henry observes, can make us grasping of objects and resentful of others. Kelly Liebengood outlines the Pauline expectation of generosity that not only gives to those in need, but also makes room for them in our gatherings. Such subversive generosity is as countercultural today as it was then, Jason Coker notes: it "can critique global capitalism by envisioning a future where human dignity is more important than profit."
Allen Walworth and Richard Stearns offer prophetic calls for us to be generous with our resources. Patricia Snell Herzog examines our "comfortable guilt" with giving so much less than we want to give or our religious commitments require. She recommends that we foster a new culture of giving in our congregations, and for this Ruben Swint has a suggestion: that we learn to speak the language of generosity as well as the language of stewardship. Jonathan and Elizabeth Sands Wise provide a winsome portrait of a generous and hospitable lifestyle.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore the role of generosity in our discipleship. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.