from Grace”s BRIDGE/Stewardship Committee

Recognizing our Fears

We are living in anxious times. What began as an economic slowdown has turned into a deep recession, the likes of which we have not known since the Great Depression. Many have lost jobs or fear their jobs are on the line. Many have lost homes or have seen the value of their home plummet. Years worth of conscientious savings has evaporated. At the same time, our culture lulls us into believing that what we wear, what car we drive, what neighborhood we live in defines us. It is easy to lose sight of our true value, of our inherent blessedness as beloved children of God.

Are we focused on scarcity? You better believe it. We are definitely afraid that there won”t be enough. And what do we do in response to hard times? Most of us begin to hoard and hide and save up for ourselves as we look around and say, “Wow…there just isn”t enough.”

Is scarcity connected to a reality, or is it more an attitude for you?

Acknowledge the Blessings of Having Enough

Is this world we are given a place of scarcity where there really isn”t enough to go around for everyone? Or is it, in fact, a place of extravagant abundance on God”s part. Now we can make it a place of generous abundance on our part. Being grateful for what we have and then doing something about it.

It”s easy to focus on what we want and what we fear rather than on what we have. Sometimes the lines between what we want and what we need become so blurred it is difficult to discern the difference.
Start with gratitude for what you are and have. Begin with the simple task of listing the blessings in your life – shelter, family, friends, skills and your breath. Include your hungers: for relationship, greater depth in those relationships, the desire to be of service and to give to others out of your blessings.

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household budgets can be an opportunity to reflect on the difference between wants and needs. Living more simply involves a series of choices that can bless us as well as others. Learning contentment is one of the most significant disciplines we can achieve.

Overcoming our Fears through Giving

How does the intentional discipline of generosity “call the bluff” of a scarcity ideology?

Scarcity is not a reality; it”s an attitude with fear which is not connected to reality. The sustained disciplined act of generosity is “calling the bluff” of scarcity ideology.  We have more resources than we imagine we have. Giving is a discovery of that. The act of giving is an energizing thing.
We give because we need to give. The Holy Spirit is continually at work shaping and growing our hearts, leading us to reflect the generosity of God”s nature, as well as the depths of God”s self-giving nature made known in Jesus. As we give, we experience the deeper joy of growing into the full stature of Christ. Our giving freely of what we have encourages others to give freely.

The suffering world needs you and the resources God has placed in your hands. Generosity in hard times is a statement of faith and confidence in the promised provisions of God. God has promised to provide — all we need to do is trust.

Moving Forward

Take a moment and view the two short videos provided under the links below: “Fear of Scarcity” and “Overcoming our Fears.” These videos were created by the Diocese of New Hampshire during a recent stewardship campaign. The people who created the original messages shared these clips with the hope of spreading their message. That message resonates with our stewardship vision this year at Grace.

Click on these links to watch videos:

Reflect on your personal situation and whether a conflict exists in your life between God”s abundance and your fear of scarcity. Use the guidance provided in this communication.   Reach out for God”s help through prayer. Then, consider making or increasing your financial commitment to Grace Church to show your gratitude for God”s abundance and to support the mission of the church in 2013.

John Adams
Co-Chair, BRIDGE/Stewardship Committee

Sources:

  • The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire
  • The Rev. D. Rebecca Dinovo; July 29, 2012 sermon
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