Stewardship Resources

Preaching Thoughts

Why do we give to the church? Here are some thoughts.
      —Giving is commanded.
      — Giving is a spiritual discipline: we are trying to become more Christlike, which includes becoming more generous. Giving—especially disciplined, regular, committed giving—is like exercising our generosity muscles.
      —It’s not our money. It’s God’s, and we ought to spend it as God would have us spend it.
      — Giving is a way to break our addiction to possessions. An addiction is anything we think we can’t be happy without. People who say they’re not attached to their money actually are attached until they give it away. Otherwise they’re the the alcoholic who says “Oh, I could quit anytime.” Oh, yeah? Well then do. Tithing is a way to break the habit.
      — Giving is a way to be happier. When we claim we can’t give more because we’re worried about our financial state we’re just locking our anxiety in place. When we practice regular stewardship we confront our fear—and live through it— and learn that we’re not so close to the edge of misery after all.
      —Giving also makes us happier because it creates gratitude. We often think that when we receive something, we feel grateful and then we respond with generosity—but it’s the other way around. We receive abundantly all the time, but aren’t always particularly grateful. It turns our gratitude is not just a feeling in response to receiving, but a practice. And the way we practice gratitude is by giving thanks. Giving generates gratitude, which generates more giving, which generates more gratitude, which is way more fun that waiting to feel grateful.
      — Giving is a way to keep our priorities straight. People often say they “wish” they could give more. No, they don’t, or they would., They give as much as they wish. (Pretending to be close to poverty is a ruse. Few people in middle class churches are anywhere near tithing themselves into poverty.) Giving is a way to literally put our money where our mouth is. Even if we have a hard time with it, it’s a practice that shapes us. Our priorities move to match our behavior. “Where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.”
      — Giving teaches humility. We’re likely to think that our money is best spent the way we want to spend it because we know best, and we are more important than others. Giving our money away helps us practice humility: others’ needs and priorities are just as valid as ours.
      — Giving gets us out of the habit of expecting something for nothing. God’s grace is free. But running a church isn’t. Doing justice isn’t. Healing the neighborhood isn’t. We give simply to bear our fair share of the load.
      — Giving is a way to make the world a better place. Sure, the the church spends money on furnaces and staff salaries. But it also carries out some aspects of healing that no one else does.

Call to Worship

Leader: God of abundance, you provide every good thing!
All: In gratitude we thank you.
Loving Christ, you bear our forgiveness to us with wounded hands and a generous heart.
In gratitude we praise you.
Holy Spirit, you fill us with your love and courage, your deep desire for justice and mercy.
In gratitude we serve you.
In gratitude, with our whole lives, we worship you. Alleluia!


Leader: Creator God, you give us life, and we thank you!
All: Risen Christ, you bless us with your grace, and we praise you!
Holy Spirit, you give us the power to create and to work, to love and to bless.
You have given us such rich and wonderful gifts!
We come to you joyfully, grateful for your generosity
Earth is generous with food and air, with color and beauty.
You are generous with grace and blessing, with love and grace.
Teach us, God, how to be generous.
Tell us again the story of your grace, so that we may become a part of it.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, we empty our hearts out before you. Receive us, and bless us with your Word. Fill us with your grace, that we may perfectly reflect your glory. As the scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed, help us to hear, and to be changed. Amen.

Gracious God, among the ways of the world our hearts have wandered. Bid them come home and be still, now. We rest in the blessing of your grace, upheld by the abundance of your gifts to us. May our hearts be calm, and desire nothing but you. May our appetites be stilled, so that we might see the riches you have given us. May our fears be healed, so that we might trust the grace you offer us. We throw open the windows of our hearts, that the warm light of your Word may flood in and change us. Bless us, God, that as the scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed we may hear with joy what you are saying to us today. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Gentle God, trusting in your tender mercy, we confess our sin to you with one another.
We confess that we forget you.
We are so concerned for our own comfort that we forget our neighbors.
We are so attached to our own will that we forget yours.
We are so aware of our need, we forget our calling.
We are so pleased with our possessions that we forget that they are yours.
Bring us back to mindfulness, God. Forgive us, and be generous with your grace.
Heal our hearts, restore your Spirit in us, and re-create us in your image.
Awaken us to your gifts in us, that we might live by them with trust and courage.
Lord, have mercy on us, and grant us your peace.

Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, we open ourselves in honesty to God.
We confess our sin; we confess our need for God’s grace and mercy.
For letting fear and anger guide us, for all selfish thoughts,
we need your mercy, God, and we pray for your grace.
For our wounds and weakness, for our sorrow and despair,
we need your mercy, God, and we pray for your grace.
For our divisions as a nation, for judging and excluding whole groups of people,
we need your mercy, God, and we pray for your grace.
For those whom we blame and judge, for the sake of their wholeness
we need your mercy, God, and we pray for your grace.
For hope in the face of despair, for courage in the face of injustice,
we need your mercy, God, and we pray for your grace.
We pray in the name of Jesus, who healed the sick,
who loved the outcast, who forgave the sinner.
Forgive us, God, in your mercy.
Heal us with your grace. Make us whole, Lord. Make us one.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending

Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace, and use them according to your will. Send us into the world to share all that we have, knowing that it is yours, with joyful and trusting generosity, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

See all songs with “Giving” tag, especially these:

All of the Gifts I Have     (Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)

All of the gifts I have, all that is within me,
you give to me, O God, with care;
all of my prayers and skills, passions and energies
you grant to me to freely share.

Here are my hopes and dreams, attitudes and deepest loves,
all of the treasure to which I cling.
I will not hold them in, stilling my ardent song,
but serving you I’ll freely sing.

In all I keep or give, may I do my very best
in everything I say and do,
in harmony with you, only to love and bless,
with joy, to serve and honor you.

All That We Hold in Our Hands (Original song)

What do we hold in our hearts?
The hopes of a hungering people,
longing for you, and for bread,
and to truly be free.
What can we do, who are small?
The power is not ours at all:
God, you have hidden such grace
here in our hands.

What do we hold in our hands?
Nothing we have is unworthy.
An everyday gift you can use
in miraculous ways.
All that we hold in our hands
you’ll use if we give it to you.
Use what we hold in our hands
for what you will do.

What do we hold in our hands?
In it you’ve hidden the wondrous,
fishes and loaves you can use
to feed thousands with love.
All that we hold in our hands
we give in the name of your Son:
more than we ask or imagine,
may your will be done.

What do we hold in our hands?
Grace is abundant, not lacking.
Look now and see what we have
and find power and life.
All that we hold in our hands,
all that we have or can do,
all that we are by your grace
we give now to you.

All that we hold in our hands,
all that we have or can do,
all that we are by your grace
we give now to you.

Giving Heart (Tune: The Water is Wide- Gift of Love)

O God of grace, you set us free
and feed us all abundantly,
so help me trust the gifts you give,
with giving heart and hands to live.

Come, Spirit, come, and set me free
from all I cling to fearfully.
Come heal my heart, my fears relieve,
so I may give as I receive.

Your Bread of Life transforms us, Lord,
so we become your living Word.
Our lives no more are ours to hold,
but yours to share with all the world.

The Giving Song (Tune: DOVE OF PEACE — I Come with Joy)

God, send me out into the world to share all I possess.
My generosity shall be the faith that I confess,
the faith that I confess

For you have given me such gifts, grace infinite and deep,
that I can only share them all. There’s nothing I will keep,
there’s nothing I will keep..

And let my giving change me, Lord, to make me more like you:
to let your blessing flow through me, creating me anew,
creating me anew.

My life will not be known by what I have, but how I share,
courageously, with trust in you, with love and joy and care,
with love and joy and care.

God, We Give You All Our Gifts (Tune: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling)

God, we give you all our gifts, for they have come by grace from you.
Take them, bless them, use them for the work that you intend to do.
We are grateful for your blessings, grace you give a million ways.
May our gratitude resound through all our lives with joyous praise.

All that you entrust to us is meant for all the world to share;
we are stewards of your grace to scatter wide your loving care.
All our gifts are yours, not ours, and meant for us to humbly bear
to the world, in trust that in our grateful giving you are there.

Take our treasure, all our earnings, all our silver and our gold;
take in grace the things we cling to, those possessions that we hold.
In our giving may we find release from fear and trust in thee,
love for all, not just ourselves, for all the whole community.

Take our prayers, our loving presence; let compassion be our creed;
help us be there for each other and for those in greater need.
Take our many, varied, gifts, our works and service, God, employ;
let our lives bear witness to your grace, with thanks and boundless joy.

The Harvest of Your Grace [2 Corinthians 9.6-15]

God scatters abroad, and gives to the poor, and fills the hungry with good things.
Alleluia! O God, we rejoice in the harvest of your grace.
How blessed the poor, and all those that mourn. “You do to me as to them.”
Alleluia! We offer our gifts for the harvest of your grace.
Now come to the Feast. Our cups overflow. With grateful hearts we remember.
Alleluia! We come now to work in the harvest of your grace.
God’s grace will abound, in seed and in bread. In joy then sow as you reap.
Alleluia! God, gather from us the harvest of your grace.
You will receive, so that you can give, and yield a harvest of good hearts.
Alleluia! God send us to share in the harvest of your grace.

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