I am a lifelong United Methodist. That probably doesn’t mean a whole lot today: we are in an age that has little appreciation for institutional loyalty or identification, but it is that United Methodist connection that brought me to the doors of Trinity.
What keeps me here are the values of Trinity, values that include the culture of every person being welcome at the table, recognition and appreciation of the whole person, a call for social justice, a nurturing environment for growing my awareness of God’s voice and direction in my life, and safe and caring place when we’re experiencing pain. The values of Trinity are the values that are core to the person I am today, and those values help me examine the choices I make regarding my financial resources.
One of the guys I worked with told this great story about Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. As the story goes, all of Constantine’s soldiers were being baptized and as the men were immersed in the river, they each held their sword high out of the water, making the statement that their lives would change, but not to the point of changing their warring ways. My co-worker used this as an analogy of how we sometimes separate our financial life from our spiritual life. We perhaps hold our checkbooks and credit cards away from that part of us seeking relationship with God.
As a part of my spiritual journey, I’ve grown in my understanding of the importance of giving. I need to give. Giving enriches my soul. I’ve learned it’s not about the needs of the church or the organization engaged in a cause I feel strongly about. It’s about my need to give. It’s about my deeper connection to those causes I value when I give more of myself to them.
Each year I try to incrementally increase the amount of my giving. It’s a discipline that has allowed me a greater awareness of what I feel as God’s presence and call to make a difference. My faith is strengthened. The growth in my giving affects how I relate to the church and provides a connection to the lives that are changed by its ministries.
I thank God for this church, for Sid, for Susan, and for each of you as we work together in growing our faith and providing the financial resources for the ministries of Trinity. I ask you to prayerfully consider making the decision to increase your giving by taking a step up in your financial commitment for 2008.