17 August 2008

Gifts

This week, Dennis and I received the check from our accident back in 2006. We deposited it and began the 10 day waiting period while the bank makes sure we are not terrorists. When the check clears, we'll pay off all of our debts, set aside a six-month emergency fund and invest a whole bunch. We might also go out to dinner. Maybe.
Back when we realized that someday we would receive a settlement check, we immediately decided the first 10% would go to God. Since it is our belief that it is because of God's miraculous intervention that we are alive in the first place, this makes complete and total sense to us. I know many of you out there would agree.
Today, I told our board chair that we are giving a portion of the money to the church. We want this money to be used, but we don't want to tell them how to use it. We'd like them to pray about that and figure it out on their own. It's kind of an odd thing to communicate -- take this, use it, but we aren't going to tell you how. Just be as faithful as you can. No pressure.
We also decided that I am done being paid by the congregation. Technically, I have two more paychecks left here, but I'm requesting that they keep the money. Convincing the treasurer that she should not write them out to me anyway and then have me give back the money, will take a little doing. I don't want to be taxed for it, and pay my 15.3% social security on it, after all. We'll see how that discussion goes.
It is nice to be able to give something to this congregation on the way out, when they will not be beholden to us in how they choose to use the money. It is nice to be able to communicate through what I have come to believe is their love language -- the budget-- that they are important to us. I hope these gifts convey the gratitude and appreciation I have for these last seven years.

3 comments:

Sarah S-D said...

k and i just received a very generous gift from his great-aunt. all the great-nieces and nephews received such a gift. we decided on our drive home from church today that even though finances are uncertain for us right now, with his unemployment, my shift to grad school status, etc, that we would tithe from this gift as a spiritual discipline, as an act of trust in God's provision. it feels good to have made this decision. for some reason, though, your post has made me wonder if we should split our tithe between the congregation we just left and the congregation in which we're now worshipping or just give the whole thing to the new congregation (or the whole thing to the old congregation...) our old congregation had a pledge for a tithe from us for the full year and we left mid-year. while they're saving our salaries, they've lost our tithe... so... hmmm...

glad your finances and your gratitude are so healthy right now.

becky said...

April,
How clever of you to have figured out that the budget is their "love language"! And what a blessing to have the capacity to make such a great statement in the language they understand right now. God's timing is a great thing.

Tithing is a good thing. Do you remember learning about it in church? I don't really, but by the time I arrived at my church - I think even as an intern in seminary - it seemed like a given - of course, the pastor will tithe. Can you ask others too, if you don't? But I suppose there are a lot of ways out of that...

Anyway, good for you! You will leave them with a lasting message, and it will take root and bloom for years and years.

Leaving the woods tomorrow, back to church in two weeks!

April said...

Sarah... Congrats on the big gift! I understand the deliberations. I should note -- we're not giving the entire 10% to our congregation here. It's just a good chunk and the rest we are splitting up among other causes. It's a big consideration, isn't it?

Becky... God's time IS a great thing. Amazing, miraculous, astounding, astonishing... all the other superlatives, too.

I DON'T remember learning about tithing at all at church, although my mom, influenced by the evangelicals on tv, always conveyed the faithfulness of that choice. I'm amazed by how many of our colleagues don't tithe, or don't give at all. The whole practicing-what-we-preach is a difficult discipline in so many ways, I suppose. Perhaps being more honest about the struggle would be a good place for many of us to start.

Sorry to hear the sabbath is almost done; I hope the energy generated will bring blessing to all of you!