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Generosity

I have been privileged during my parish ministry to work with generous people.  I have also been very blessed to have learned, studied, worked in, talked about, and deepened my own sense of what stewardship is all about.  I understand the theory and the technicalities of good stewardship education,, of tithing, of pre-authorized giving, of sacrificial gifts, of the art of challenging people to look at their own giving levels and to encourage them to move up a level, to establish their own percentage points, to look seriously as proportional giving and at the ‘giving tree’.  None of those ‘techniques’, however, means much without a deep seated and properly rooted sense of generosity.   None of my various approaches works until and unless there is a good understanding of what it is to be dealt with generously and to respond from a generous heart.

It begins, always, for me, with God.  The God who has given us everything – none of which we have earned or deserved.  Yes, we can talk all we want about our own skills and gifts, about our own ‘smarts’, about our own dedication and tenacity, about our own sense of drive and determination but, ultimately, we need to acknowledge that all has been given to us by God – life, the world around us, skills and gifts, intelligence, drive, achievements, accomplishments.  It all starts (and started) with God looking at a blank canvass onto which He imposed creation  and, thereby, gave us all that we have.  All that we have!

Once I, and others, get our heads around that very basic understanding of generosity, it is amazing what will follow.

Generosity of attitude, of acceptance, of spirit, of grace – all these kinds of generosity become the first response to a generous God.  My experience is that, as the nature of generosity seeps itself into a community’s nature, generous responses flow in abundance.  Generous in time and commitment, in joy and hospitality and generous with treasure!

Peter Wall

About Peter Wall

Peter Wall has been Rector of the Cathedral and Dean of Niagara since 1998. As Dean, he is responsible for the overall life of the Cathedral parish and takes an active role in the leadership of the Diocese. Peter has been very involved in the church beyond the Cathedral and Niagara, having served on the Council of General Synod, the national Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, the Board of Directors of the Anglican Foundation of Canada and on the national Liturgy Task Force. He currently serves as Anglican Co-Chair of the Anglican-Lutheran Commission for Canada, as well as continuing his work with 'The Three Cantors'.
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3 Responses to Generosity

  1. Kyle Norman

    I remember seeing an episode of THE SIMPSONS where Bart is asked to say grace over dinner.  He bows his head and prays “Dear God, we payed for this stuff with our own money so thanks for nothing.” 

    I think that speaks to the way that many people approach topics of thanksgiving, generosity, tithing, and service.  It’s our money, our time, our resources – what does God have to do with it.

    I thank you for the simple message that reminds us that we need to start with the fundamental generosity of God.

    Blessings!

  2. Kyle Norman

    Jesse,  I think you’re on to something with the call for us to recieve generously as well.  It can be very humble to recieve, because we acknowledge our own need and dependancies.  I remember whe nmy family was pretty much living hand to mouth, the church we were at would bring over groceries.  My Father would try to refuse, until one person remarked “There can be no giving unless there is a willingness to recieve.’

    Perhaps this is how to tackle stewardship.  Instead of attempting to move our parishoners to become joyful givers, maybe we start by moving them to be joyful receivers.  Hmm – that intrigues me.

    To all the Stewardship editors out there, I would love a post about this some time!

  3. Kyle Norman

    Jesse,  I think you’re on to something with the call for us to recieve generously as well.  It can be very humble to recieve, because we acknowledge our own need and dependancies.  I remember whe nmy family was pretty much living hand to mouth, the church we were at would bring over groceries.  My Father would try to refuse, until one person remarked “There can be no giving unless there is a willingness to recieve.’

    Perhaps this is how to tackle stewardship.  Instead of attempting to move our parishoners to become joyful givers, maybe we start by moving them to be joyful receivers.  Hmm – that intrigues me.

    To all the Stewardship editors out there, I would love a post about this some time!

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