Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the months to come there will be increasing opportunities to support the work of our parish financially. As the parish and school continue to grow the demands for new ministries and facilities will increase. In the light of this I would like to share a personal story about Christian giving.
My Father was a successful Christian businessman. It was his practice to give 15% of his income to the Lord’s work. While I say he was a success—it was not always so. For some time in the middle of his career his business was failing. He had re-mortgaged the family home and was struggling to support a wife and five children. Through no fault of his own, the business was slowly sinking. He still gave that 15%.
When I was in eighth grade, we had to do a homework assignment for economics class. The task was to make a pie chart of our family’s budget. I will never forget working on the project in class and the teacher, looking over my shoulder, said, “Dwight, I think you made a mistake here. It says your folks give 15% to their church. I think you mean 1.5%.”
“No sir.” I answered proudly. “My Dad gives 15%.”
My Father was not just giving to support the church, pay the pastor, help pay the bills and maintain the property. It was my Dad’s way of serving the Lord. It was his offering—his sacrifice. Later, when he became very successful financially, we know he gave much more than 15%.
My Father’s financial generosity paid great dividends not only in financial and practical terms, but I believe I am still a Christian today because my Dad—who was not a perfect Christian—put his money where his mouth was. He may not have been perfect, but he was steady and faithful. He set an example for his children, for his fellow Christians and for many more who have heard this story.
As we embark as a parish on some ambitious plans for the future, please keep my Dad’s example in mind.
I am not demanding everyone give 15% of their income! The amount you give to the Lord’s work must be your own prudent, prayerful and sacrificial decision. However, I am reminding all of us that our financial sacrifices for the Lord mean far more than just money. It involves our spiritual legacy, our spiritual destiny and the impact our lives have on our children, grandchildren and our wider community.