For many years I tried to be invisible in the church. I attended worship services and received the comfort of the word and sacraments, but I did no ministry work and donated just enough so they would leave me alone.
The Holy Spirit drew me gradually into immersion in the liturgy and music of this ancient root of Christianity—so different from the “no-frills” church in which I was reared as a child.
As I was swept up in the endless, cyclic progression of the church seasons, the nurturing fellowship of amazing fellow parishioners drew me into hands-on ministries. I began to realize that the annual plea to give back some of my time and my money to the church was an opportunity, not just a pesky obligation.
After a few years of self-satisfied giving, I heard a friend refer to the practice of “ridiculously under-pledging.” Pondering just what kind of label this might be, I began to examine more closely that partially visible man in the mirror. Later, I began moving gradually toward fulfilling the Biblical requirement to tithe—after serving on the vestry and taking part first-hand in the wrenching decisions of “what to cut,” from St. David’s annual budget.
There is nothing to cut. The only way to enable more of what the church wants to do is for me—not just you—to donate more and to “let my light shine” through ministry. When I joined St. David’s 25 years ago, there seemed to be a group of wealthy donors who could be depended upon to bail out the church during lean times, with one family said to be making annual tithes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today there is no “knight on a white horse” riding to our financial aid. What we do have is Jesus Christ riding a humble donkey. When he reaches into his saddlebag to strew his grace and blessings throughout the world, I want to help make sure his hand doesn’t come up empty.