Why would 1 Corinthians 13 be chosen as a stewardship theme text?
Generosity is indeed a matter of the heart and attitude. A good steward has a faithful, hopeful, and loving heart.
Faithfulness—not size, status, wealth, or heritage—is God’s measurement for Christians and congregations. Generosity is a faithful act of discipleship, wrapped in trust in God and God’s purposes, whether we see them clearly or in a mirror dimly.
Hopefulness is a basic Christian characteristic. Despair and hopelessness can be damaging to congregations and their members. God offers the victory of hope through Christ and the Holy Spirit. To have a future we must live with hope. Generosity is a hopeful act of discipleship, made as a statement that God is still at work in the world, and we partner in these acts of redemption through our generosity.
In verses 4-7, the apostle Paul unpacks love’s characteristics: patience and kindness, and a lack of envy, boasting, arrogance, edginess, resentment, and bullying. Christians and congregations must experience and share love that looks like this. It is not optional: it is imperative. Generosity is a loving response, made in gratitude for God’s love for us, and celebrates a unity in Christ that surpasses the difficulties that seem to work so hard to divide us.
The apostle Paul concludes this chapter by telling us that faith, hope, and love last.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul reminds us that even if we practice generosity that leaves us with nothing and even requires our lives, if those incredible gifts have not been given in the spirit of love, the giver has gained nothing.
We invite you to give faithfully, hopefully, and lovingly.