by Amy Haynie
I grew up Southern Baptist. I was taught that giving God 10% was the minimum that was expected of me. The pastor and deacons were never afraid to talk about or ask for money. Amazingly, that’s not why I left the Baptist denomination.
When I met and married David, we attended the local Episcopal Church. David had been raised Episcopalian and I fell in love with the liturgy and rituals. I was intrigued by a Stewardship season – it just seemed so adult-like: asking people to pledge what they could give in time, talent and treasure and then trusting them to follow-through. In the beginning though, I thought about Stewardship as only about money and only happening every October.
In early 1998, I began to understand Stewardship in a whole new way. I was part of a Stewardship campaign that asked us to think about how we were blessing God with our donations, and how we were ultimately blessing ourselves in making the gift. It’s a difficult thing to think about, but I liken it to going to NavajoLand each summer. I have no idea if the Dine’ children feel blessed by my presence, but I know that I feel blessed to have been there. When I have gone to feed people at a homeless shelter, I know that I have left there feeling guilty about how blessed I feel by being able to serve them. While I was feeding their bodies, they fed my soul by letting me serve them. What a privilege it is to see God at work in the world and then be able to participate!
I definitely feel more blessed when giving: time, talent or treasure. I now know that stewardship is a year-round discipline, and 10% is a worthy goal that most of us work toward. It is in the constant cycle of blessing God and others with my contributions that I find myself blessed too. Be blessed.