Testimonials

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.

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). Continue reading.

Testimonial: Come, Follow Me
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.

Tithing: From My Youth
My parents’ example has probably had the greatest influence on my giving as an adult. Although they didn’t talk about it a lot, they tithed, and I understood this to be a Christian duty. In a simple way, I tried to do this even as a child. With the little money I had now and then, from a gift or my small allowance, my conscience would convict me to tithe. Several specific moments when I wrestled with my conscience and then tithed (or even gave it all) stand out in my memory. The quiet joy and peacefulness I felt after giving stayed with me. The desire to tithe springs from that place and my parents’ example. Just as the Lord promised, he has always taken care of all my needs and given me even more!

Testimonial: How Much Should We Give?
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.” Continue reading.

From Self Centered to Christ Centered
There was a point in my life where I thought that I controlled my own destiny.  Everything was going exactly as I had planned, and I had little need or time for God.  All it took was one incident (where I nearly lost my wife and my daughter) to make me realize that they are truly gifts in my life as well as the other members of my family.  Should I not consider giving something back (at least until it hurts a little) for these incredible gifts that I have been given? How self centered can I continue to be?

Tithing: God Provides
About 10 years ago, I began to tithe.  When I first began, I thought that this was a lot to give and that I would surely would run short at the end of the month. Well, I did not. I began also to give to charities that feed the hungry, and still I had money. The more I gave, the more my income increased. I did not ask God to provide additional money, it just came.  Prior to my tithing, I had gone several years with nothing more than a cost of living increase at work.  After I began to tithe, my salary increased significantly. God has provided for me, and I happily give back to Him what He has given me.

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.

Testimonial: St. Spyridon and the Promise
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. Continue reading.

A Self-Made Man
I look back on my working life and realize I have experienced too much good fortune for it to have been solely of my own doing. Yes, I am a self-made man in the conventional sense, yet I am not alone. None of us are. We have received greater guidance and direction in our Christian lives, whether we acknowledge it or not. I feel I must give thanks for it. I do so by giving both my time and treasures back to our Lord.

SHARE YOUR STORY BELOW

Was there a person, event, or miracle that changed how you think about giving? Have you been inspired to tithe or make a significant gift? Your story may inspire others to do the same! All posts are anonymous.

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