Testimonials

Testimonial: A Change of Heart

Many years ago, I dug into the concept of tithing to prove a Protestant friend wrong. She tithed, as most in her church seemed to do. Arguing that Old Testament rules didn’t apply to modern-day Christians, I researched tithing from an Orthodox Christian perspective to bolster my side of our pending debate.

A little-known passage in Genesis 14 was one of the things I came upon. In short, the story goes that after Abram returns victorious from battle, the king and priest Melchizedek brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram. After receiving the blessing, the passage ends with these words: “And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:20). Read More →

Testimonial: Come, Follow Me

Calling of Philip & Nathaniel-med

As a priest, over the years I’ve spoken to my parishioners countless times about stewardship. In particular, I often speak about percentage giving. At a clergy retreat I attended a few years ago, a fellow priest spoke to us about stewardship, and during his talk he mentioned that he himself tithes. That got me thinking. In my home, I want to raise my children to be Christians. To that end, I intentionally try to model what that looks like on a daily basis. I want my children to see me praying, fasting, giving alms, speaking with kindness, showing love, etc. After hearing my brother priest speak about tithing, I was convicted to do the same kind of intentional modeling for my church family. If I hope to nurture the practice of sacrificial giving, I must lead the way by example. It was a leap of faith in our family to begin to tithe. But I believe it is the only way I can expect the same from my parishioners. Now when I talk about stewardship, I let my parish know that my own family tithes and invite them to join me.

Testimonial: A Leap of Faith

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Several decades ago, when I was raising my children and growing in involvement at my church, disaster struck the parish budget. Our annual Greek festival, without which our parish could not survive, only broke even because of a weekend of torrential rains and high winds. That’s the year we started talking about making the change—the leap of faith, really—to total stewardship. Eventually we decided to go ahead and do it, no longer holding a festival and asking parishioners for stewardship to cover the operating budget.

I was a part of the fledgling stewardship committee, and the discussions we had in the Board room inevitably led to discussions at our kitchen table. When I suggested that our own family take the same leap of faith the church was taking—that is, that we work toward tithing—my spouse resisted, at first. We were people of modest means, raising a large family, how could we possibly afford to tithe? Read More →

Testimonial: What am I willing to spend?

I view my stewardship as a process. I have made a small increase this year, but I hope that by continuing to prayerfully assess my means in subsequent years I may eventually reach the level of a true steward. I am certainly not there at this point. The reasons behind my desire to increase my stewardship are hardly profound. All the things I have learned from greater involvement in my church have convinced me that true stewardship should be sacrificial. That said, I knew I was not living up to that with my previous level of contribution. I thought about how much money I am willing to spend on the other things such as a daily cup of coffee, dinner out, a new outfit, etc. When I compared those figures with how much I was giving the church, I was ashamed of myself. I had no choice but to increase my contribution, and I hope to continue to do so in future years. Those considerations and my desire to make God and my parish a priority in every element of my life lead me to increase my stewardship.

See more testimonials on giving here. Share your testimony anonymously here.

Testimonial: Leftovers

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One year my family was given a special collection box to take home, fill with donations, and return to our church a few months later for a worthy Orthodox Christian cause. I loved the idea! My mind immediately focused on all the spare change we had accumulated—in the cup holder of the car, the bedside table, the couch cushions. If I would place this change in the box, I would not only be giving to a worthy cause, but I would be getting rid of the nuisance of having to figure out what to do with this change. I could solve two problems at once!

Little did I know, this box was about to transform the way I think about giving. Along with the box, we were given one last instruction, to please approach our collection as giving something up for Christ. We were challenged to consider giving in a spirit of sacrifice, rather than simply giving our leftovers. I realized then and there that I could–and should–give much more that I had initially thought to give. In fact, I realized this was true not just for the special collection box, but in all aspects of my giving to Christ and the Church.

After that day, we tried to treat the collection box almost like lighting a candle in church. Rather than only putting in spare change, we consciously tried to put in bills on a regular basis and say a prayer as we did so. The little lesson of the collection box stays with me to this day and stops me as I reach into my pocket to give: am I willing to sacrifice or just offer what I don’t need, my leftovers?

We are grateful to our readers who have offered to share their giving story with us, so that their testimony may inspire others. Read more on our Testimonials tab. We invite you to share your story, as well! Email us at info@everygoodandperfectgift.org or visit Share Your Story.

 

 

 

Testimonial: How Much Should We Give?

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As a newlywed, becoming a steward of an Orthodox church for the first time in my adult life, I first asked the question: “How much should we give?” When I put the question to the church office administrator, she knew from experience that what I really meant was, “What do most people give?” Giving at my new parish was on a stewardship model, so there was no minimum or membership fee. I wanted to know what the right amount was for the privilege of attending services and having the priest available for our needs, something like a membership fee to other organizations in our life. But, to be honest, I also didn’t want to give “too much.”  Read More →

Testimonial: Your own gifts we offer to you

Years ago while a student in seminary, I offered my confession in the school’s chapel and was given a penance. The instruction was to offer a sum of money to the poor or to the church; I would decide how much and to whom.  Immediately after being given this instruction by my father-confessor, I decided in my own mind what that amount would be. It was $100, but I did not tell anyone about it–not even my father-confessor or my spouse. The next day, after parking my car at the foot of the chapel, as I got out of the car I noticed a bill on the ground. I looked closely, and it was $100! I was astounded. I looked around to see if anyone had dropped it, but no one was there. I thought to myself, coincidence? Up to now I have never shared this story. But the donation was made to an Orthodox Christian charity.

Do you have a story about stewardship or almsgiving that might inspire others? Share your story here. Read other testimonials here.

Testimonial: A Father’s Day Gift

When I was a young girl, my father would give me money to buy him a Christmas or birthday gift. This is how it is with our Heavenly Father, too. Stewardship is not simply something we give to God. Rather, it is His own gift given back to Him. In the Divine Liturgy the priest says, “We offer these gifts to You from Your own gifts.” This is what stewardship emulates. When we begin to make our Lord a participating member of our lives each day, we are humbled to learn how much more we have to give back.

Read more testimonials here. Share your story here.

Testimonial: St. Spyridon and the Promise

St. Spyridon might not be the patron saint of tithing, but for one family, his intercession led them to tithe

Spyridon

Icon of St. Spyridon courtesy of Holy Icons.

There was an event, a moment, when we began to tithe, and it took me entirely by surprise.

My jaw literally dropped when my husband told me we were going to begin tithing, giving 10% of our income to our church.  How much we give has been a difficult and ongoing discussion since even before we were married.  I come from a family of limited means that tithed without excuses, and I expected the same from my own newly-forming family.  On the other hand, my husband understood tithing as the goal, but when he assessed our financial situation, he couldn’t see room for that level of giving.  To be fair, I don’t worry very much about what is in our bank account now or in the future.  So, we started our married life giving a small percentage of our income, but we were committed to slowly increasing that percentage until we reached tithing.  Read More →

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