The relationship of giving to FPCH started for us way back in 1998 when my husband and I were just a young married couple starting out. Giving to the church was always a way for us to practice our faith; it challenged us to trust God and to re-think the things we actually need versus want. To be honest, we didn’t give every time we got paychecks. Sometimes, we convinced ourselves that our wants were somehow needs (like that vacation trip or that dinner out.)
After twenty-two years of marriage, mortgage and two kids, I can’t say that our challenges have changed. While the funds we have in the bank seem to have more places it needs to go, the struggle to trust God to meet our needs and wants is still there. The slight difference is that we now have a long-view. Having practiced giving all these years (and it’s still not consistent), we’ve learned that God does provide and if anything, the act of giving (that moment when the gold and velvet lined plates come around and I put the petite white envelope in) is a physical reminder that despite all the places that our funds need to go (saving for college, mortgage, bills, car repair, food, etc.) God has provided all these many years and he continues to do so.
So perhaps the act of giving has evolved for us, from an act of trust on our part, to a sign of reassurance from God that he does always somehow provide. Maybe not always in the ways that we would prefer but in the ways that we needed.
Giving to the church has also made me more perceptive to the ways in which our money is used to help the community around us and our church. Having served as deacon and elder, I got the chance to experience first-hand the ways in which our church’s resources can act as blessings to those around us (the Children and youth programs, spiritual formation, missionary projects, our amazing staff…). I’ve come to understand that the money my family gives serves to assure others of God’s grace and providence. The act of giving binds our community together in ways that are far more intimate than I realized. While at times tithing is still a struggle, it’s a good struggle to have; the action puts our faith in practice in ways that helps us to grow in our understanding of God.
(and Matt, Melia, Samantha)