A year ago, a coworker loaned me Practicing Extravagant Generosity a Robert Schnase book that contains daily readings on the Grace of Giving. Confession time . . . I haven’t returned this book yet. I really need to order my own copy, as I pick up this book often and have recommended it AND loaned it to other coworkers (thank goodness they returned it more promptly than I did!)
Schnase says, “Generosity is an aspect of character. The opposite of generosity is selfishness, self-centeredness, greed, and self-absorption. No stories from Scripture tell of people living the God-related spiritual life while fostering a greedy attitude. Generosity extends beyond merely the use of money, although it most definitely includes that. There are generous spirits; generous souls; people who are generous with their time, with their teaching, with their love.”
I’ve described my role here as someone that teaches people to be generous. You began hearing that message in our stewardship campaign, “This Is Why We Give;” and now, through our giving moments on Sunday mornings, we have an opportunity to share and celebrate all the wonderful ways our Church uses your generous gifts to Transform Lives.
In a few weeks you’ll see a perfect example of Schnase’s concept of “Practicing Extravagant Generosity” reach fruition. A member of our congregation who noticed that the pew cushions in Leonard Memorial Chapel needed to be replaced made a gift to purchase new cushions. They are on order now and we look forward to celebrating their arrival in a few weeks. I know there are many stories of Extravagant Generosity in our faith community. I look forward to learning and sharing more of these — and I will be glad to assist in the telling of your story.
As Schnase urges, let’s all open our hearts and minds to a deep generosity that nurtures the spiritual qualities of the giver, gifts inspired by gratitude for the generosity of God, rather than merely on the church’s need for money.
I’ll be ordering my own copy of the Schnase book this week. If you’d ever like to borrow it, I’ll be happy to loan it to you!