Author: Jeanne Lounsbury
The wealth or “abundance” of our lives is a gift, not just a given. That is, no more than with life itself do we have this as something we can earn or deserve. It is not entitlement but blessing in which others are meant to share. Deuteronomy 8:17-18
I used to think of our giving as a monthly expense to help our church and other organizations. As we entered into retirement two years ago, it was time to trim down monthly expenses and our donations were an easy target. Let others pick up the yoke and give more, as we’ve done our share. But a voice inside gently reminds me that we’ve been given so much “abundance,” especially the opportunity to retire at a younger age. Perhaps giving isn’t so much a monthly obligation, but rather an opportunity to continue sharing some more of the blessings which we’ve received. Our giving adds to the collective giving of the congregation which provides so much for our congregation, community and beyond.
We made a decision to put our current giving in our retirement budget and it has been a little unnerving the past two years to continue to give at our former level. We intentionally take funds out of our 401K and put them aside for our giving as the “pot” doesn’t refill after each payday. We seriously discuss our level of giving, including what more might we give up to continue our current level of giving, especially if the stock market dips, like it did just before the Stewardship campaign last year. We find over and over, every time we commit to a higher level of giving, planning along with faith helps it work out, especially when it is seen as a “blessing in which others are meant to share.”