Christian stewardship begins with the recognition that everything we have and everything we are comes to us as a gift from God. God created us and blesses us in an ongoing way. Most of all, God blesses us by accompanying us as we journey through life. This is the great gift that we celebrate at Christmastime—the birth of Jesus Christ who is “Immanuel, which means God with us” (Matt 1:23).
Knowing that what we have is a gift, and that God is the gift that keeps on giving, we do not need to hoard what we have. Instead we can share it, in imitation of the God who gives so abundantly. Thus gratitude—the acknowledgement of the gifts we have received—leads to generosity.
Generosity in turn is the practice of not holding on to what we have as if it were our own. Practicing generosity is like an ongoing reminder that everything we have is first a gift to us.
This, it seems to me, is the value of making a pledge to Church. We commit ourselves to practicing generosity for the coming year. In the process, we support God’s mission in the world. And in the process, we become a little more the people God calls us to be—a people of gratitude generosity, and love.