A Christ-Centered Giver’s Response to COVID-19
We are all facing a crisis that is impacting our families, our finances, and the world around us. In the midst of this pandemic, we hear a myriad of calls for philanthropy to respond to the ever-growing needs in our communities. But how is a Biblical steward to respond?
There is a difference between philanthropy and Christ-centered generosity. Philanthropy assesses a problem, determines a possible charitable solution, and writes a check. But Biblical generosity starts by embracing our true posture as managers (not owners) of God’s resources, and seeking divine guidance through prayer as we consider charitable giving with God at the center of all of our thinking and planning.
Posture of the Steward – Joseph’s Example
Jesus provides a Biblical example of store-housing, managing our resources, gone wrong in Luke 12:16-23 in the story of the rich fool. In the story, a man builds up large barns to store his crops, leaving wealth of food stored for his future so he can “relax, eat, drink, [and] be merry.” But the man dies that night and cannot do anything with all he has stored up. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
But Biblical stewards are called to lay up treasure in heaven as we release charitable resources for the building of God’s kingdom. Unlike the rich fool, we are called to manage our storehouses using the Biblical example of Joseph. Joseph exemplifies the faithful posture of a steward of God’s resources. His faithfulness to humbly steward what God gives him, even when a servant and a prisoner, leads him to the role of steward over all of Egypt’s wealth. During seven plentiful years in that role, Joseph orders the country to store up grain in storehouses. When a severe famine follows, Joseph strategically opens the storehouses to meet the needs of those in Egypt and in foreign lands.
So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. – Genesis 41:56-57
Unlike the storehouses of the rich fool, Joseph saves up Egypt’s storehouses for a definite Kingdom purpose: to be released to those in need during a time of famine.
This is a new mindset, a mind for us as stewards that is turned to God’s purposes first and foremost as we seek authentic relationship and direction for our management role. In the wake of our current day “famine” caused by COVID-19, each of us as Biblical stewards, like Joseph, must prayerfully discern how God is calling us to use the “charitable storehouses” we manage for Kingdom purposes. In this challenging time, we have a tremendous opportunity seek the Lord and help build His Kingdom according to his plans.
We must resist giving away what God has entrusted to us with a secular, philanthropic mindset. Instead, God desires us to prayerfully abide in Him, and seek His direction in our giving. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit guides us as we abide in Christ:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:4-5
In faith, we believe that all of the pain and fear surrounding COVID-19 has the potential to be a pruning process that will result in a life on earth that produces even more fruit in our lives. When we seek to abide before and as we give and listen for what God wants for us, we are promised that He will make us fruitful.
Prayer of the Steward
We encourage you to use this guided prayer as a tool to help you re-position in your role as a Biblical steward.
- Lord, I re-affirm that you own everything that I possess, and I am your manager. Please be my guide as I seek to embrace my role as a Biblical steward. Lord, I ask that you bless and guide my efforts to assess the contents of the Charitable Storehouse that you give me to manage.
- Lord, I ask that you bless my efforts in prayer to connect with you and to hear from you. Help me listen to your voice, Lord. Help me discern where you are calling me to give. Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to participate with you and your Church in the building up of Your Kingdom.
We pray every day as a team, so please let us know if we can pray for you and your family, friends, church, your favorite non-profit organizations, or anything else that is burdening your heart.