I’ve listened to stewardship sermons all my life, so when this past year I felt God stirring in me, I knew it was time to commit to giving to the church. To really commit.
Previously I had told myself that giving was something I would do when I had a family and joint income. As a single woman, who doesn’t make a lot of money, I had to intentionally think about this sacrifice before I reprioritized my monthly budget to include recurring gifts to Church of the Incarnation and it was hard. There are lots of things I want to do and buy.
But I’m also a rule follower; I know I should be making regular gifts to the church. As I’ve become more integrated into the life of the church, I’ve become more aware of my ‘taking’ and not giving back. The church has given me so much – well beyond Sundays. It has challenged the parts of my life I didn’t want to address – to stay with my prayer even though I may be struggling with it, and to learn how I can best share my faith with others, which can be hard for a millennial and an Episcopalian.
This past year has been uplifting. I became more involved in my Growth Group and joined a second Bible study for women. Now Sunday is a day of happiness for me. It is an hour I reserve for worshiping God, and I know I’ll take something away to think and pray over each the week.
My faith has grown and is the driving force behind my decision to give back to God. When I first decided to give, I didn’t feel like the amount was significant considering all of the costs required to offer the programs available to us at Incarnation. It has been such a surprise to me that giving is personally fulfilling.
For several months now, I’ve been praying about challenging myself by doubling my pledge for the coming year. That’s right. Doubling. It will be a sacrifice, and I know I’ll feel good about it. And it’s going to be hard. But, it’s easier to plan, make a decision, and put that decision into action when I bring God into the conversation. I cannot pretend any longer that God doesn’t care about how I spend my money and that my decisions independent of Him are okay. They’re not.
My spiritual experience has a cost, and I know the generosity of others helps bridge the gap for me. Thank you for that. The church has given back to me ten times what I’ve given, and I’m happy to make giving back to God a priority in my life. And I do it with gratitude. My hope is that you will, too.
Do you give without fear?