Ten Great Hymns about Stewardship
September 4, 2018 by David Gambrell
By David Gambrell
Editor’s note: Many churches have a fall emphasis stewardship calendar, calling for a Pledge Sunday in October or November. Worship services commonly have a stewardship and/or generosity theme. We asked David Gambrell, Associate for Worship in the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship, to guide us through hymns that emphasize stewardship, generosity and gratitude. David is a composer of hymns and serves as the coeditor (with Kimberly Bracken Long) of the Book of Common Worship (WJK, 2018). You can read his suggestions below. Thanks to David for this terrific guidance.
What do you sing in stewardship season? The following hymns and songs—found both in Glory to God (GTG) and in the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal (PH)—offer clear expressions of key themes in the Reformed tradition: giving our lives with gratitude for God’s grace, serving others with Christ-like love, sharing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, tending the creation entrusted to our care, and offering all to the glory of God.
(Permission is granted to reprint the descriptions of these hymns in worship bulletins.)
As Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought — GTG 712; PH 414
Offering the first portion of the harvest is an ancient way of giving thanks for God’s redeeming work (Deut. 26). Paul applied this image to Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15).
For the Fruit of All Creation — GTG 36; PH 553
The repeated phrases of this hymn—“thanks be to God” and “God’s will be done”—underscore the essential elements of Christian stewardship: our offering of gratitude and service to God.
God Whose Giving Knows No Ending — GTG 716; PH 422
As this hymn aptly demonstrates, we give of our time, talents, and treasure in order to express our gratitude for the astounding generosity, extravagant goodness, and abundant grace of God.
I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me — GTG 700; PH 369
Good stewardship is about devoting our whole selves to God’s service—through our living, our working, our praying, and our singing—all that we have and all that we are.
Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ — GTG 526; PH 514
The practice of Christian stewardship is nourished at the Lord’s Table. Here we offer simple, humble gifts … and discover that God can use them to feed a hungry world.
Lord of All Good — GTG 711; PH 375
The final verse of this hymn illuminates the trinitarian nature of Christian stewardship. We offer ourselves in praise of God’s amazing bounty, Christ’s willing sacrifice, and the Spirit’s good gifts.
Take My Life — GTG 697; PH 391
This hymn is a “giving catalogue.” What can we offer to God? Moments and days, hands and feet, voice and lips, silver and gold, intellect and will, heart and love.
We Give Thee but Thine Own — GTG 708; PH 428
Christian stewardship is established on the principle that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Ps. 24:1). Anything we might claim to possess has in fact been entrusted to us by God.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross — GTG 223, 224; PH 100, 101
This Holy Week hymn offers one of the most poignant and eloquent expressions of Christian stewardship ever composed: “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
When We Are Living — GTG 822; PH 400
We know that our lives belong to God, the giver of life. This hymn reveals that even in our dying we offer ourselves to the Lord—source of life eternal.
For more ideas, see the “Dedication and Stewardship” section of Glory to God (WJK, 2013), nos. 688–717.