By Shannon Meister
I was recently asked to provide a testimony about why I give my resources and my gifts to the church. I’ve grown up in the United Methodist Church and have always been taught about giving and tithing. Yet being asked to give a testimony really made me think and reflect about why I truly give.
My parents always made a point to give money every Sunday we were in church, which was nearly every Sunday. My mom used to write the check and let me put it in the offering plate. That left an impression on me because of her faithfulness in this act.
When I was in middle school or high school, I can remember having a conversation with our pastor at that time about how and why she tithed 10% of her income before taxes, and I remember as a young teenager how that simply blew my mind. That conversation was a memorable one and has stuck with me so much that as I’ve gone through various jobs and wages, I’ve strived to do the same.
One wise pastor often preached that giving is not about the church’s need for money but about our need to give. Isn’t that true with all of our gifts and resources in the church? It’s about our need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s about hope for a better world that we believe and know is possible.
Much too often, it’s easy to get caught up in our consumer society where it’s all about us, and we want better and newer and faster everything. I find this especially true with the technological gadgets in my life. But we, as Christians, know that this isn’t where our treasure lies. We know these things are not what is truly important. Yet we’re still tempted, aren’t we?
As I further reflect, I know I have friends that have a lot more time and money than I do. Some days this bothers me. But when I think about it, I know that they probably don’t tithe their resources; and they don’t have something bigger to believe in and live for.
I saw this bigger picture recently when I attended WOW in Springfield. I saw so many youth and adults who sacrificed their time and sleep to make an event not only successful but also inspiring for nearly 2,300 people. They do this because they believe in these youth, in our church and most importantly, in Jesus.
There’s a song by Mercy Me called Crazy that states, “Even though the world may think I’m losing touch with reality, it would be crazy to choose this world over eternity.” Even though the world often thinks of Christians as crazy for the things we do and the sacrifices we make, we know there’s a bigger picture than just life on this earth, don’t we? That’s why I give and why I believe. It’s about something bigger than the hour I spend at a missions meeting or the check that I write. It’s even about something bigger than a weekend with several thousand youth. It’s about how we can pool our resources together and change the world by the grace of God.
Thank you, laity and clergy, for giving of your time and your resources...not just for your church or your district, not for our conference or even for the United Methodist Church...but for God and for his greater kingdom. Let’s go and be Jesus in the world with everything we have!