Giving stories from Grace members
Read Paul Eichwedels' recent Grace Notes story "Tithing is for 'Me too!'"
Tithing via automatic withdrawal
This Grace parishioner relies on the automatic withdrawal feature to aid in the practice of regular tithing.
Growing up in a congregation very much like ours at Grace, my Sundays began with Sunday School and worship. I sang in the children’s choir, and then high school and senior choirs ─ two services every Sunday ─ through my teens.
Tithing, however, was not the norm in our household, most likely because of substantial medical bills. In later years my father told me that every payday, from the late 1930s through the 1950s, he went to our local hospital to make a payment until all of our family’s medical debts were paid.
I reached a point in my own life some years ago when I realized, despite childcare expense, that tithing might be doable and I gave it a try. It was, and still is. I regret that I didn’t realize that sooner.
More recently I’ve opted for automatic withdrawals from my checking account, payable to Grace, to ensure that the Church receives my monthly offerings regardless of what other expenses I incur and whether or not I am in church each and every Sunday.
You might want to consider our automatic withdrawal feature for your own contributions. The process is simple and flexible. In the event of an economic pinch ─ perhaps due to layoff, job loss or medical expense ─ withdrawals can be put on hold until household finances improve.
(From Grace Notes, June 2011)
The tithe: “our benchmark for giving”
The discipline of tithing played a key role in the married life of this couple.
Early in our marriage and soon after we had found our way to Grace Church, we became involved with the question of how much to contribute to church. We were a single-income household, and our children were just beginning to arrive. It was early in our working career, and we lived on a fixed income. We had recently bought a house, and after considering all our expenses—mortgage, food, property taxes, etc.—there was very, very little left over.
As we thought about the principles of our faith and many statements in the Bible, we agreed that we would use the tithe as our benchmark for giving. This was not an easy commitment to make, but we supported each other as we proceeded down this path. Over the years, the further we went along that path, the easier it became to follow our pledge.
Looking back, we can see the impact that tithing has made in our lives. We have been richly blessed in many ways. God has provided for us and he has helped us lead each other through our lives. Grace Church has made a major impact on our lives. The principle of tithing has had a part in all of this. (From Grace Notes, July 2010)
Tithing has changed us
We grew up in church-going families, but because our parents didn't tithe we had no experience with it. Early in our marriage, however, some Lutheran friends - a couple with three young children - mentioned that they'd begun to tithe. Initially, they said, it was a challenge to "find" the money in their budget, but the longer they tithed, the easier it became. And after tithing regularly, they told us, something amazing happened: an unremitting stream of blessing seemed to come their way.
That testimony was powerful for us, but we soon became parents ourselves, bought a house and learned the meaning of ‘living on a shoestring." Years passed. When the subject of tithing came up again, we were juggling two jobs, a marriage, parenting, and the many other challenges of family life.
Despite our hectic existence-and with college expenses looming on the horizon-this time we gave tithing serious thought. At first the stumbling block seemed to be the ten percent: Could we set aside that much of our earnings without giving up ‘necessities'?
We decided to try it-to take it in stages, beginning with five percent. After regularly giving at that level for awhile, we discovered that the goal of ten percent felt not only attainable but compelling-something we felt called to do.
Tithing has changed us. It's caused us to look at the world in a different way. We feel enormously blessed. (From Grace Notes, December 2009)
Can we give more?
Faithful stewardship is lifelong for this Grace member.
"Going to church was always important in my family. As a child I remember my parents giving me a coin for the offering plate. Once I began getting an allowance, my parents suggested how much I should give to church. Like many parents in the 1950s, Mom and Dad never talked much about money, so I didn't realize it at the time, but the amount they suggested was a tithe.
"As newlyweds, my husband and I didn't have much, but we always gave to church. One year, after reading a Grace Church stewardship appeal, we calculated the amount we were contributing to Grace and asked each other, "Can we give more?" We decided then and there to raise our giving by one percent.
"We discovered that the extra amount we gave didn't seem to have an impact on our household finances. So the following year, we asked ourselves the same question: "Can we give more?" And we did. Again, we saw the same result: we didn't miss that extra amount that was going to Grace.
"Before long, we were surprised to see that our giving had grown into a tithe. We've tithed ever since - and although I'm retired now and we live on a smaller income, we didn't reduce our giving.
"Giving ten percent of your income can seem like "so much." I think it's because we already have so much and don't recognize it.
"What would happen if you increased your giving by one percent? Give it a try." (From Grace Notes, May 2010)