Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To give is to Respond Gratefully
A Stewardship Message for your Church

“…they gave themselves first to the Lord.” 2 Cor 8:5b (NRSV)

It’s been over six months since I took the brave step of signing up to have my tithe automatically deposited from my bank account into the church’s account twice a month. We’ve been tithing for years and my husband has had his offerings electronically transferred for a while. But I still liked having control. And I must confess, I liked being able to “flex” my spending especially in the summer.

For several years, our dinner table was crowded with 3, 4, 5 or more of our college-aged kids and their friends, which meant extra groceries. In addition, 75% of the family birthdays fall in the third quarter of the year. I’m not particularly proud of it; but the reality is that I was often “catching up” on my pledge in October and November following the back-to-school crunch. Yet I promote automatic deposit as a means of giving our first fruits! I believe the first check I write should be to give thanks to God for the blessings I’ve received. I preach this too!

So I took the plunge. And that’s how it felt the first time I saw the transaction online mid-January. I don’t know why. But I felt like someone had just flung me out in the middle of a polar bear swim! Months later, instead of gasping for air twice a month, I now take a deep breath and give thanks to God for the blessings I have and the blessings I’m able to share. I see those blessings as children return from church camp this summer with grins from ear to ear. And I see those blessings as the UMCOR reaches out to children in need every time an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or flood turns their world upside-down.

Are you ready to join me in taking the plunge of automatically saying “thank you” as the first gift you make every month or every pay period? Whether your church has a program or not, I now know I can do it through my online banking or by EFT through the church. God promises to automatically love and care for us winter, summer, spring and fall. Let’s find ways to give our thanks by offering our prayers, presence, GIFTS, service and witness consistently too.

--Rev. Jean Ehnert Nicholas, Wisconsin Ann Conf

God is Still in Control

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Producer

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