“Stewardship is the meaning of life. All life is given by the love of God. Everything and everyone belongs to God,” said the Rev. Michael Jinkins, speaking March 11 at the Stewardship Kaleidoscope meeting in St. Louis.
Jinkins, president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, said that generosity, joy and gratitude — and therefore stewardship — are essential to life. He came to this conclusion over a lifetime of slow-motion conversion, he said.
Jinkins spoke of Claire and Donald, a couple he once pastored. Claire and Donald had had much financial success and upon retirement, decided to spend the rest of their lives giving away everything they had. They were slow and methodical about this, researching charities before sending off generous checks. When they died, Claire and Donald donated their bodies to medical research.
“Stewardship is Vocation”
Their reasoning was simple and deeply theological, Jinkins said: “We are most like God when we give. We are called by Jesus Christ to follow him and become what God has called us to be. We’re created in the likeness of God, who is generous and always giving. This is our vocation – to be like God is to give like God.”
What we are called to do springs from who we are called to be. We will be held accountable by God for how we have tended what God has provided.
“We are blessed. And we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others,” Jinkins said.
A Legacy of Faith
Planned giving is an opportunity for us all to return to God that which God entrusted us with during our lifetime. It is also an opportunity for us all to further strengthen Christ’s church for the future by providing for ministry and mission for those who come after us.
Many people believe that planned giving is only for the wealthy. Planned giving is for all of us. We all have something to give and this becomes part of our legacy.
Considering a planned gift means one is thinking about leaving a faith legacy, a testimony to the future – how deeply meaningful it is to leave a legacy of faith. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us; may God grant us to be the shoulders of faith and support for those who come after.