In this issue we invite you to journey with five authors as we introduce you to the concepts of generosity, freedom, stewardship, and joy. I begin with the challenge to consider the difference between a counterfeit life and, as Paul puts it, the “life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19) The article concludes with my prayer that: “My brothers and sisters in China would pursue the true life God created us to live. May we together seek to set aside all desire to rely on ourselves instead of God, to play the owner instead of the steward, to seek happiness in wealth instead of in Christ, and to find our security in earthly things rather than in heavenly treasure.”
Helen Wu introduces you to missionary Samuel Pollard who gave his life caring for others and living a life of one-kingdom generosity. She remarks that Pollard “showed by his life of selfless service that there is only one kingdom—God’s kingdom. He was the ultimate steward serving God with all his heart and mind—a free steward.”
My friend Howard Dayton looks first at our attitudes toward giving and then proposes four advantages to giving. You will be challenged by the cycle of giving and how to find your place within it. As Howard reminds us: “One reason the Lord reveals that we can anticipate a material increase is because he wants us to recognize that he is behind it. God has chosen to be invisible, but he wants us to experience his reality.”
Eric Lee provides us with a look at both poverty and prosperity in relationship to generosity. I especially appreciate his linking of generosity to salvation when he says: “Salvation is not God giving free grace to us sinners so that we can be rich. The true gospel is God offering his free saving grace to us in order that through us all others can hear the gospel and become rich. The focus is not our receiving (prosperity) but rather, after receiving, passing it on (generosity).”
Ge Jun shares a story about a church in Yunnan province that practiced what we have all been writing about. This little church followed the pattern of the Macedonian church where Paul proclaims their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. He reminds us that: “We are praying that China becomes more missional and giving, just like this little Yunnan church. May God bless you with a giving heart as well!”
We conclude with Brent Fulton’s review of The Sower, written by Gary Hoag and Scott Rodin. Brent cites the two-fold challenge of teaching and speaking on money in a Chinese culture, and the belief that talking about money is somehow unspiritual and does not fit in the church. He concludes: “The Sower provides a useful starting point for facing these challenges with biblical truth. In the hands of pastors, Christian teachers, and business leaders, The Sower has the potential to turn what is often viewed as an uncomfortable or unfamiliar topic into an opportunity for great spiritual growth and blessing.”
We also provide you with two resources for further reading and reflection. The 50-Day Journey to Freedom will walk you through a process of transformation. The Good and Faithful Steward web site is available to support you in your own journey of living as a faithful steward.
In all this we pray God will use these words to draw you closer to him and to your call to be a faithful, joyful steward of all of life. As you do, you will set aside everything that may now distract you and take hold of the life that is truly life.
Image credit: Journal Entry (Joel Montes de Oca) by Chris Lott, on Flickr.
Scott Rodin has a passion for helping Christian ministry leaders take a biblical approach to leadership development, strategic planning, board development and raising kingdom resources. Over the past thirty years he has worked with hundreds of organizations in the U.S., Canada, Middle East, Great Britain, China, India, the Philippines and... View Full Bio