Last week I encouraged pastors to tell their giving stories as they kick off stewardship season. We are grateful to Bishop Tracy S. Malone for sharing her own giving story. Joining her in the photo above are her husband, Derrick, and daughters, Ashley and Alexis.
I grew up in a Christian home where I was taught to thank God for everything. I was taught to never take life for granted because tomorrow is not promised. I would pray and thank God for everything. I learned to have a grateful heart.
I was taught to give God my best. I was reminded that God loved us so much that He gave his Son, Jesus Christ, and he came into the world so we may have life and have it more abundantly. Therefore, I should offer God nothing less than my very best of who I am and what I have.
As I grew into my teen years I developed a deeper understanding of my faith, learned about what it meant to be a good steward and learned the importance of tithing.
My parents expected me to be a good steward by being active in the church. When I became of age I got a job and this is when I learned about tithing. When I received my paychecks, my parents made me give 10% of my total check to the church. The remaining half went in the bank and the other half I could keep. What a challenge! It was one thing to understand stewardship and tithing but putting it into practice was more than a notion. I learned to find joy in giving.
When I got married I wanted to continue being a tither. My husband was not raised in the church and tithing was a new concept for him. I knew I would need to be patient and give him time to make such a commitment. We did make a commitment to give tithing a try. It was a step of faith! All things were going well and then we found ourselves being tested. My husband’s employer closed his business. This impacted our income drastically until my husband found other work. But by the grace of God, remained faithful and God provided just as God promised. We are living witnesses that tithing is both an act of stewardship and an act of faith. We have been tithing ever since.
We have two daughters and have taught them the importance of stewardship and tithing. Whatever the source of their income, allowance or other earned money, they are expected to give a tithe to the church. When they were younger we gave them money to put in church to give them the practice of giving. But now they’re older and have their own source of income, it gives me great joy to see the joy in them as they place their offering in the plate. It is my hope and prayer that our daughters will always have joy in giving, serving and leading in the church.
Sometimes, as a people of faith, we forget that all we have belongs to God. We fall into the temptation of feeling entitled to have it all and keep it all. I have learned that the more you give away the more you make room to receive. And blessings come in many forms.
We are all called to be faithful stewards. A faithful steward is one who recognizes everything belongs to God (Psalm 24:1). A faithful steward is one who gives a portion of their money, possessions, time and talents to God. A faithful steward is one who is intentional in giving their best and their first to God.
Stewardship is a matter of faith. Generosity is an act of faith. Tithing is a journey of faith.