What's first? is the new stewardship education resource for 2013 from Abingdon Press. It is based on shiny gods, a new book by the Rev. Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Gingshamsburg United Methodist Church.
Giving is important for followers of Christ, Slaughter said. "Giving is the nature of God," he explained. "Our God is a God who gives. Generosity is evidence of the Spirit's work in a person's life. Look at 2 Corinthians 9:6 (TNIV): 'Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.'"
"When we pursue the shiny gods of the culture," he continued, "we spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have, to achieve. Jesus leads us in a better way. He tells us to conjugate one verb: to love."
Those studying shiny gods will begin with "Naming Our Idols" and go on to consider "Money, Work, and Debt," "Be Faithful, Save, and Give" and "Heart Giving."
Asked how a healthy view of the workplace falls within being a faithful steward, Slaughter responded, "Righteous work will always honor God. If we get up every day to honor God and to serve people through our work, then the day will bring us joy."
shiny gods, a companion DVD and guides for personal and small group Bible study will help the church body reassess priorities and create a culture and a lifestyle of giving with a special emphasis on missions. A four-week, all-church program for all ages, first will encourage adults, youth and children to reassess their financial stewardship priorities in both their church and personal lives.