Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. (Luke 6: 38. ) It is a long trip of more than 35 years that forms AWEMA Ministry in the Middle East and North Africa countries (22 countries). As an Evangelical Arab organization, we started by a great treasure of faith and patiently waiting for the Lord with no financial resources. Trusting the Lord was and is the major key for Gods supplying all our financial needs. The Lord supplied our needs to establish training centers, churches and Christian schools in non-Christian countries and unreached areas as well as to hold hundreds of conferences, consultations, training courses and theological studies institutes for leaders of underground churches. What do we give during AWEMA ministry (35 years)? We give nothing but our faith in the Lord, patiently waiting for His faithful promises, a genuine desire to serve peoples living in intense darkness. Yet, the Lord abundantly gave us grace, power, protection, potentials and capacities to achieve wonderful services to the Kingdom. Yes, we started giving the little that we had; He gave us from His richness in Glory. Maher Fouad, General Director,
AWEMA, Cairo, Egypt There are two verses in the Bible that clearly express the generosity and love of God for all mankind - the fundamental basis for human generosity, for if we do not love what we do, speak or think has no meaning. Then David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. Nathan replied, The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. (2 Sam 12:13 ) This verse shows the generous love of God toward a repentant man. Davids recognition of his sin triggers Gods abundant generosity. Gods forgiveness is complete and total revealing the generous love of God which is incomparable and incomprehensible but effective. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruitfruit that will lastand so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16 ) Gods determination to be generous with us should lead us to be generous with others: God is generous with us because he loves us and wants us be generous by loving our neighbour. The fruit of our generosity being to give whatever we have:
gifts, talents, love, compassion, mercy, tolerance, humility, hospitality or money. Generosity goes far deeper than the economic dimension. Adelmo Curiel Castro Pastor, Santa Marta Vineyard, Colombia. When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:9,10) I have always been concerned that we need to be generous to the deserving rather than the undeserving who waste the resources they have. I later grew in maturity to recognize that even those who waste resources are like what they are because of damages to their psyche because of some past experience. We need to have compassion on them and see how we can help them. In the law of gleaning, we have no idea who comes and collects the gleaning. It could be the deserving
widow or it could be the town drunk. It is generosity which is unconditional. It has taught me not to be too critical of the poor. Mr P.K.D.Lee, stewardship coach and trainer, Kolkata, India give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God. (Matthew 22:21) Jesus had a dismissive attitude to economic wealth. One of his fundamental understandings about the way this world worked was that its motivation to accumulate material wealth was diametrically opposed to Gods values. Matthew 6:24 leaves no room for compromise - His followers should literally hate money. Looking at the Roman coin, Jesus did not just see pressed metal, he saw a regime represented there. The situation is no different today. When considering what stewardship and generosity means, we must be sure of our priorities. Whos wealth are we distributing? It is an act of stewardship to manage that distribution
wisely, but is it generous? Is it generous if it is not really ours to distribute? To give to God what belongs to Him is to give our very selves to Him and others, that is generosity. Jay Matenga, Executive Officer, Missions Interlink New Zealand Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.. (1 Tim 6:6-10) I would like to reflect on the theme 'contentment' which is the key to stewardship & generosity, but instead of writing my reflections I would like to ask a few questions for my readers to reflect on. What Should Be My Attitude Toward Money?
How Do I Know If I Love Money? Do I spend more time thinking about how to make money than how to do a good job? Do I always complain not having enough? Do I find it hard giving it or resent when giving it? Do I sin to obtain it? How Should I Live? I am rich when I am contented. That's true riches. I will live generously! Rev. Dr. Edmound Teo, Senior Pastor International Christian Assembly in Hong Kong. The text which has inspired me most is the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 men in John 6:1ff. And it is the little boy which fascinates me. He has the fife loaves of bread and the two fishes. And it is all he has. And he gives it all. Even a small boy would quickly understand that his bread und fish would never be enough for the hungry mass of people. What made him generous? Was he curious to see what Jesus does with his
generous gift? Was he just naive as children are sometimes? We do not know. The only detail we know that it is Andreas, the brother of Peter who finds him and brings him to Jesus. The same Andreas who brought his brother Peter to the Lord. Andreas is obviously an exciting follower of Jesus. He knows how to excite his fellow people about Jesus. And so may the story with the may have unfolded. At the end there is a miracle. Thousands of people receive food and Jesus is glorified. All because this little boy adventured into generosity. Dr Johannes Reimer, Professor of Missiology at the Ewersbach University of Applied Arts, Germany From an early age I was taught that those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, to give cheerfully and to understand God as the Source of all blessing and abundance. (2 Corinthians 9: 6 8). Passages that have shaped my understanding of stewardship and generosity include the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14 30), Jesus story about the widow who gives all she has, (Mark 12:42) and the parable of the last
judgement, where the king says to the righteous, as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. (Matthew 25: 40). I learned that ownership, talent and position come with responsibility: possessions are to be shared, whether that possession is a home, food, money, a beautiful singing voice or a role where you can do good. I remind myself often, that to whom much has been given, much will be expected. (Luke 12:48). Christina Rees, Chairperson Christian Association of Business Executives, London, UK There are so many passages in Scripture that have impacted my journey of generosity. One story from Scripture stands out though, and it's not one that most people associate with giving. It's when Jesus takes 5 loaves and 2 fish and feeds 5,000. That means that God who can create abundance out of thin air doesn't need my money. And yet, His message of generosity does have to do with helping to remove the obstacles that would otherwise prevent me from loving and
worshipping him fully, and all too often, money and its pursuit is an impediment. So the Biblical Message of Generosity is very important, but it also means that it applies to all...those who have a lot of money, and those that have a little. The Widow's mite will tell us that it's about worship and surrendering it all......it's not about gathering the resources of the financially rich. Henry Kaestner, Managing Director, Sovereigns Capital, Silicon Valley, California Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:10) I became a Christian shortly after I was married. I worked part time and received a small income. My non-Christian husband worked for a MultiNational Corporation and brought in a large income. After 15 years of marriage, I suggested tithing on our joint income. My husband said: I
know that you give money to the church out of your income just keep doing that. Quoting Malachi, I suggested we start a three month test of tithing 10% on our joint income. My husband agreed. One month into our test he received a $100,000 unexpected inheritance. We continued tithing on our joint income until my husband passed away, 8 months after giving his life to Jesus. Judy Kay, New South Wales Chair, Missions Interlink (NSW), Sydney, Australia "Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want." (Proverbs 11:24) As the world grows smaller and information travels faster, stewardship becomes an act of presence and an exercise in patience. Building partnerships around the globe through the academy, NGOs, and the church has proven to me that being in fellowship with someone and using your experiences and talents to help them is the purest form of
generosity. Giving freely of all of your resources, and not merely your pocketbook, is the key to being a steward of God. Joyfully sharing your gifts of grace as God calls you to, will allow you to accumulate spiritual wealth. Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, President of the Protestant Churches of Egypt Jesus comment, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also is at first look, counter intuitive. Its obvious we give to where our hearts are inclined. But Jesus says the opposite. Making sense of where his insight leads us has been strategic in my thinking in inviting people to invest. I came to realize it to be my calling to carefully, prayerfully and consciously bring people to make an investment because of its value, and not to rely on their heart-inclined passions and interests. As the value and logic is presented, and an initial investment is made, then the heart is linked into its objectives and its heart and soul. The lesson is that in stewarding ministry, a clear and unambiguous calling is a
persuasive activity in bringing people of resource into a heart-change. Then follow up in helping them link into the ministry so that their hearts are changed by the giving. Transformation is essential in assembling the means of resource to underwrite life changing enterprises. Dr Brian Stiller, Global Ambassador World Evangelical Alliance, Canada Luke 6:38 MSG Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given backgiven back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." This promise is given to every saint on earth. It is our God-given right to be givers. God promises us that He will give back more than we give. It is not an obligation but an opportunity. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 MSG This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. If we apply the scriptures about
finance correctly in our own lives, we will have in abundance to give to the Church, which will ultimately result in the Church growing beyond anything we have imagined. Isebel Spangenberg, Coordinator Global Prayer Resource Network, South Africa What kind of values have I inherited from my parents? It is a good question to ask you as a child as well as a parent. To say Biblical would not be specific enough. During the Soviet time my father kept telling me that I was created by God and for a specific purpose. I had to fight with both parts of that statement. Second one was even more difficult because it was hard to imagine a specific future when you are closed behind the Berlin wall. Today my children have the same challenge and from the same source What a joy to know that our Heavenly Father has made generosity as part of our DNA identity. For we are Gods masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Eph. 2:10). Yes, His future is
our present life! Dr Anatole Glukhovsky, Regional Director for Eurasia Lausanne Movement, Ukraine Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 Proverbs 22:6 is a great encouragement to me. Growing up in a home with Godly parents was a blessing. I learned how to be generous with my time, talents and treasure. And that was simply by watching my parents and how they served God. When my own son was about seven, a good friend invited us to join him for special event. When we wrote a thank you letter, we had an opportunity to give a monetary gift along with it. I told my son that I would match whatever gift he wanted to give. He went to his money box and took out $50. Needless to say, I was both shocked and proud of his generosity. May your children glean generosity from your walk with God.
Brent McBurney, President and CEO Advocates International, USA My mind turns to all the years I've received from Him a lot to share and of course there are 2 Scripture passages that encourages me to do so. Luke 16:10 " If you can trust a person with a very small thing, you can also trust him with bigger things..." and 2Co.9:7-8 "Each person should give as much as he himself has decided to give. He should not give because he has to give. He should not give if he does not really want to give. God loves a giver who is really happy to give. And God is able to give you more than you need of every good thing. You will always have everything that you need for yourselves. Also, you will have enough so that you can give plenty to every good work. Having these verses in mind, I asked Him to be faithful in each thing I had or do. And I decided that while I can give anything, few or a lot, I'll do it with a joyful heart; I'm not just talking about material things or money (Ro.13:8). I'm talking about time, hugs, about smiles, about food, about the gifts, about my home place, about a prayer, about giving joyfully!! That's the journey I want to share, giving what I have to the people
around me, and doing that with a grateful heart. I can tell you, that until now, generosity to me is about giving without hesitation, giving from the heart and with joy. Gladys Ospina, Global Assistant Puente a las Naciones (PALN), Colombia Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me (Pro 30:8 ESV). A Christian is like walking between two high walls. One wall says remove far from me falsehood and lying, which will keep us from making much money. The other wall says do not withhold in giving (Pro 3:27 ESV) which becomes possible only when you have something in your hand. How can I have some extra to give somebody who is in need while I live up to Gods commandment which will lead me to not making much money? The answer I got is to learn to be satisfied with bare minimum (food) for myself and my family. So, living a simple life is the bottom line of a Christian life which will enable me to give generously as
well as living up to Gods will. Rev. Dr. Stephen Cho, Executive Director Theological Education by Extension, South Korea Isaiah 58: 6a, 7: Is this not the fast that I choose to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked, to cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Generosity toward the poorest of the poor is the kind of worship pleasing to our Heavenly Father. He rebukes His people of performing religious rites void of mercy and justice. I learned generosity from my father at an early age. He emerged from poverty and exemplified this to me when I was a preschooler. He fostered several poor youth to college. One became an officer in the United Nations, others became professors, mechanics, a lawyer and several became teachers. Jesus commanded us to be utterly generous to the poor. He became poor so that we become rich. He said whatever we do for the poor we do for Him. He demonstrated to us how to love our
neighbor and this needs to go beyond individual relationships to transforming oppressive and unjust social structures. Imagine what God can do if the global church commits to imitate Jesus in his radical generosity towards the poor. Lorisa Socorro Acorda De Boer, Asian Theological Seminary, Philippines Matthew 6:33 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Growing up in a faith mission, this verse was frequently quoted. Yet for those missionaries this verse was not mere theory or a dogma, but much more as a principle of life which they experienced to be true and trustworthy. As I grew up I learnt myself the truth of this verse. If I put God first in every aspect of my life, then he has committed himself to provide all what I need, be it material possessions or something else. This is especially true as we are called to be his stewards. He has
entrusted us with so many things and it is our responsibility to handle these wisely. He will take care of the rest. Rev. Dr. Frank Hinkelmann, Director OM International, Austria Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone elses property, who will give you property of your own? Luke 16:10-12 My personal journey on stewardship and generosity was initially impacted strongly by my profession where we had to account for each 15 minutes of our time for billing purposes. This was before I was a believer. It instilled in me a great sense of accountability, responsibility and integrity which I have carried to this day. When I became a believer, the awareness of the stewardship not only of my time, but of my talents and treasure and indeed my life became paramount. Luke 16:10-12 summarises this journey for me. I was trustworthy
in handling wordly wealth. Consequently, i have even been more aware of how I steward all the rest of these resources as a believer and been amazed at how many doors that the Lord has opened for me for His Kingdom work which I thoroughly enjoy and work with diligence as He enables me. Valentine Gitoho, Chair of the African Council for Accreditation and Accountability, Kenya When we are doing business in the UK - Pound Sterling as the common currency. This is the accepted exchange medium which enables us to interact with the market. The Kingdom of God has also a currency - a single currency - used in Kingdom affairs. It is called faith working though love. The peculiarity with this currency is that we cannot earn it. Either we have it or we dont! And daring to trust the currency and to use it effectively requires a personal experience with the living God. The rich young rulers main problem was that he did not trust the exchange medium the Kingdom currency which he would have received in
return. This is why he lost everything. Gal. 5:6 says: The only thing that counts is faith working through love. It is not enough to manifest kindness and love - the Kingdom currency is only released by faith in God. J. Gunnar Olson, Founder of International Christian Chamber of Commerce, Sweden May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, That your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among the peoples. Psalm 67:1,2 The verse that has great meaning for me is Psalm 67:1,2. I have an overwhelming sense that the Lord blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. This is contrary to the consumeristic world we live in where everything revolves around my own wellbeing. I believe it is true for the African church, especially as we experience significant growth and more and more influence. Our focus must be on not just
experiencing blessings ourselves but we need to have a determination to pass that blessings on to others. Peter Tarantal, Associate International Director, OM, South Africa The first Bible verse about generosity that comes to mind is John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God GAVE. God was generous not looking at the cost or the pain, but at eternity and restoration of what went wrong in the Garden of Eden. Jesus gave his life. He gave up Heaven. He gave up being a King and became a servant Saviour. As we see this ultimate generosity, we ought to respond with generosity as well to give our lives. And giving our lives include money, possessions, time, gifts and abilities, relationships. He gave everything - do we show that we understood this by giving everything? Attila Kapocs,
National Director OM Hungary, Hungary All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along. Galatians 2:10 As Paul and Barnabas go off to tell the world about Jesus, the message from church leaders is please continue to remember the poor. Generosity to those in need is a core aspect of the early church, even when they face persecution. Two words strike me about Pauls attitude: continue I want my generosity to be ongoing, not just a one-off gesture; and eager - like Paul I want to yearn to show overflowing kindness to those in great need. Its a privilege to be generous! Amanda Jackson, Executive Director, WEA Womens Commission, UK
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