How to Build a Life?
Eternity, Security, Anxiety & Generosity | Stewardship 2021
It would be silly to plant apple trees and expect a harvest of oranges. It would be odd to use plastic to construct a wood table. It would be strange to spend our hours and days practicing basketball in the hopes of becoming a great golfer. In the same way, it would be peculiar to nurse feelings of jealousy and resentment, to exercise habits of consumption and acquisition, and to then assume we are becoming persons who are generous, sacrificial, and joyful.
David Brooks, bestselling author and New York Times columnist, warns us of life lived in pursuit of resume virtues rather than eulogy virtues. Resume virtues are the skills and strategies you bring to the marketplace while eulogy virtues are the ones talked about at your funeral–whether you were generous, kind, honest, faithful, and the like. While we all know eulogy virtues are more important, our culture is built to form and shape us around resume virtues. As Brooks describes it, we are “clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.”
Given these societal dynamics, only deliberate living, not wishful thinking, will help us become the people we want to be. Building a life around what matters most is a persistent and tenacious construction project. It requires active and constant deconstruction, construction, and renovation. And, as Christians, we see this (re)construction project happening firstly and primarily through the grace and power of God. In fact, we believe that Jesus demolished our faulty structures and flimsy scaffolding and poured a new foundation.
Each year at WCPC we give four weeks to a teaching series on stewardship. Because we believe that God owns everything, we see ourselves as stewards (more on that term in a bit) rather than owners, stewarding God’s resources for God’s purposes rather than leading lives of ownership and entitlement. This year, we will be exploring Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew’s Gospel (Chapters 5-7). We will ask the question, “How do we build a life?” We will answer that question by exploring four construction projects:
- How to build an Eternal Life (Week 1).
- How to build a Secure Life (Week 2).
- How to build a Non-Anxious Life (Week 3).
- How to build a Generous Life (Week 4).
This booklet is designed to be a journal for you personally as well as a conversation guide for our community groups or for your family. Each week you will find questions with which to interact individually and another set of questions to prompt group discussion. Before we unpack the four teachings we will begin with some background questions.
- What is the “Sermon on the Mount” all about?
- What is “Stewardship”?
- Why do we have a Stewardship Pledge Campaign?
As we embark on this journey together I will be praying over you, and hope that you will rest in knowing generosity is something God wants for you, not from you.
With Prayer and Devotion,