The Easiest Thing You Can Do
Posted in Stewardship/Giving
Scripture: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12:48
My husband Drew and I are fortunate that we both grew up in active, church-going families. As children, we were often given our own paper piggy banks to begin to learn about giving to our churches. I certainly remember my mother faithfully putting her envelope in the offering plate every Sunday, and as an adult, I’ve witnessed Drew’s mother quietly writing her own check before heading out the door to church on Sunday mornings.
When I was living in New York City after graduating from college, I gave a very small amount to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church when I attended. I also once made a very modest pledge to that church, which I appreciated so much, and didn’t end up fulfilling that pledge. Fifteen years later, I remember the feeling of failing in that regard, but I know now that giving to our churches isn’t for perfect people.
There’s certainly a learning curve to giving, even though tithing is a relatively simple calculation. I’ve always viewed giving and tithing as a goal to work towards, and something that adults who are grateful to God just do. But it’s not always so easy.
After we were married, Drew and I didn’t know how we’d ever fully tithe. It seemed like such a great commitment! For years, we pledged small, year-over-year incremental increases each fall. One Sunday, just after our oldest child, Andrew, was born, Drew suggested that we just “rip the bandaid,” so to speak, and pledge to Eastminster 10 percent of our income. It was surely a leap for us. But we decided to trust God, who had entrusted us with so many gifts. We now have three children, a comfortable home, and many creature comforts for which we are grateful. Though it isn’t always easy, we have been so blessed to learn that God really does provide all that we need. I often say, “it’s the easiest hard thing we do.”
We recently met with a new financial planner, who, when going over our monthly expenses, commented on our gifts to our church. It was the first time in my life I ever felt that someone doubted or questioned giving what God calls us to give. I wondered briefly whether we were making a smart financial decision by tithing, though I know in my bones that giving to Eastminster is the best investment for the money that God has given us.
The financial planner’s comments were actually such a gift to me, though, because for the first time, I got to really decide why tithing is so important to us. I can list several reasons for giving, but here are a few:
1) I am proud of the legacy of giving Drew and I have been part of, and I want my own children to someday be a part of that legacy, too. We all know that leading our children by example is important.
2) I know anyone with young children can relate to calendar-filling ballet classes and baseball games. It’s a busy life. I have great confidence in our church’s ability to discern community organizations that need and responsibly use our donations. I’m happy that our giving is pooled with yours and sent out to facilitate God’s work in our community, even when I can’t physically do so.
3) God calls us again and again to support our church. My family would be lost without the staff of this church and our Eastminster family, particularly when it comes to the unwavering support we’ve felt with our daughter Jayne, who has Down Syndrome. Our giving is in response to those who support us.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the many blessings you’ve given us through Eastminster. In our own ways, may we all be supportive of your work at our church. Amen.
Submitted by Katie Alice Walker