Perspectives on Stewardship

The Cookie Lady

Posted by Kent Anderson on

When we speak of stewardship, we often think of it only in terms of giving of our financial resources. And certainly, giving of our financial resources to support the work of the church is an important part of our stewardship responsibility.

Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged and instructed to give of our resources - Proverbs 3, Malachi 3 and II Corinthians 9 are but a few verses that make that clear.

But is that all there is to stewardship - write a check and I’m done?

When we truly understand stewardship, it’s much broader than simply giving of our financial resources. As noted above, that is part of it, but when we speak of stewardship, we are speaking of giving of ourselves as an outflow from a loving relationship with Christ.

It’s often referred to as the Three-T’s. The Three-T’s include giving of our Treasure (our financial resources), giving of our Time (in serving), and using our Talents (the abilities God has given to each of us to serve the church and others).

And we are to give freely of all three, not under compulsion, but in response to our love for God, as part of our discipleship and a growing relationship with Christ.

Of course some have greater ability to give financially, and, no doubt their financial support is needed and appreciated. Deuteronomy 16 tells us that we are to give as God has enabled, and He has given some greater ability to give financially.

But, what about those who don’t have much to give in the way of financial resources? Does that mean they have less to contribute or are of less value to the church or to God’s work? No!

When we read Mark 12, we find that Christ actually had greater praise for the poor widow, who gave what little she had, than He did for the wealthy who proudly gave large sums. He says that she gave out of her poverty. She put in all that she owned - all she had to live on, but the wealthy gave only a small portion of their surplus.

In a previous Blog, I quoted Chip Ingram from his book “The Genius of Generosity” where he says “God measures generosity not by the size of the gift, but by the size of the sacrifice.”

Last week I attended the memorial service of a dear lady in our church. She was known affectionately as Miss Lydia and was often referred to as The Cookie Lady. Those who knew Miss Lydia knew that she had little to give in the way of financial resources. But she gave in the ways that she could give.

She rightly earned the affectionate name of The Cookie Lady because she loved to bake cookies - and bake she did! For years she baked cookies for the 300 men who attend our Wednesday night Band of Brothers, and she also baked cookies for the Sheriff’s office and for the area EMT’s.

In addition, on Sunday mornings she would arrive at around 7 am to go around to the various BLG classrooms to make sure all was in order, and then she would go to the Connection Point to help greet those arriving for worship. She helped with the Audio-Visual Dept. and at 11 am she would help in the Children’s Dept. She would do similar tasks on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

And all of this became more difficult for her when she could no longer drive and had to rely on CAT (Collier Area Transportation) to come and bring her to church and later to take her home.

The list goes on - like things she did for her neighbors and providing cold water bottles to the landscape crew that came through her neighborhood. But the point is, she gave - in the ways that God enabled her to give. For her, it was not so much with money (her treasure) but with her time and talents. And she always did so with a smile on her face.

Having known Miss Lydia, my heart is warmed by the memory of her selfless and often unnoticed service. She gave generously from what she could - her time and abilities.

We don’t usually think of giving and stewardship in that way, but perhaps that type of giving - given out of love for God - given from the heart, has as great a value to the Lord as writing a check.

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