Why We Give
By Rev. Becky Brown | 2022-11-04 | 4 min read
Each year, as we embrace our stewardship season within the life of the church, I spend time in reflection on why we give. In the midst of the writing deadlines for publications, and the general staff responsibilities for the stewardship campaign, I also consider how our family gives to the church. It isn’t an easy conversation to have, necessarily, because it’s a private affair. It’s uncomfortable to talk about money with others, and it isn’t something that is a natural conversation starter. Sometimes, I think, it is helpful to share our story.
As a child, we were in church almost every single week. I remember hearing sermons on giving, and I remember getting my offering envelope ready for worship or Sunday School. I heard about the importance of the tithe, and understood from an early age that giving to the church is what faithful people do. My husband Andy had a very similar upbringing, and understood the importance of giving. When we began building our household together, giving to the church was a foundational part of our marriage. Yet, like most young married couples, our resources were tight. I was in seminary full time, and was working part-time in a church. For the first half of our first year of marriage, we didn’t own a couch or any furniture for our living room. We simply moved the kitchen table chairs to the living room when we wanted to watch tv. We made it work, mostly because our parents were generous and helped us fill in the gaps.
As we became more established, we began to feel God tugging on our hearts. We hadn’t been giving to the church in many years. We didn’t have the freedom to do so. Yet, as a little space began to form in our budget, we felt God leading us to give – even when any amount was a sacrifice. Then, the question came – where do we give? There are plenty of wonderful faith-based non-profits out there. We were connected to several of them, and found giving to those ministries to be incredibly gratifying. We felt a sense of peace and gratitude for being able to make a difference with our offering, but we weren’t giving to the church as a whole. I felt tension about giving to the church – not because I didn’t believe in the ministries and the mission – but because I wondered if that was my place as a church staff member. It weirdly felt like a conflict of interest, and it’s difficult to explain. Crazy, I know. So, in times like these, I often talk with a wise friend to seek guidance. My dear friend spoke plainly to me, and said I absolutely needed to give to the congregation where I am serving. She explained that I should never expect others to give, if I wasn’t prepared to give my portion as well. We had a long talk, and the end result was deeper clarity, and Andy and I making the decision to begin our pledge. We started with what we could manage, and continued to increase to meet our goal that was in alignment with what we imagined God leading us to give. As we look at the wide reach of our congregation at FUMC, continuing our giving has been a no-brainer. We trust that God will continue to move, and that leaders in the faith will be responsible with our resources. We give because God has given abundantly to us – year after year. We respond in gratitude and generosity, because we understand that our faithful discipleship leads us to do so. Afterall, all that we have been given has come from God to begin with. We have always striven to hold our blessings loosely in the palms of our hands so we can part with them as the Spirit leads. Stewardship season is a holy time, and I am grateful to serve such a fantastic congregation that leads with generosity.