In a recent article entitled “The Liturgy of Abundance: the myth of scarcity” by Walter Brueggemann, he quotes Robert Wuthnow, sociologist of religion at Princeton University who has extensively studied stewardship in the church. Wuthnow reports that ministers generally do a good job of promoting stewardship. “They study it, think about it, explain it well,” he writes, “but folks don’t get it.” He goes on to say that people are so snared by the demon of consumerism that there is no real room for generosity in their faith. We have a love affair with “more” and we never have “enough.” Wuthnow says that consumerism is no longer simply a marketing strategy but he calls it a demonic spiritual force among us and then he asks, “Does the gospel have the power to help us withstand it?”
You and I do not always “get it” either and if you’re like me, it is a daily battle. I need to be constantly reminded that Genesis 1 is a song of praise for God’s generosity. It tells how well the world is ordered and repeatedly says, “It is good, it is good, it is very good.” It continually pictures God as One with overflowing goodness that pours from a Spirit of generosity. Therefore, when we have responses of generosity as we have just enjoyed, we are expressing an understanding of faith that is in harmony with God’s purposes from the beginning of time!
Read the rest of Dr. Paynter's article in The Clarion.