February 12, 2015

At the Dinner Table: Stories of Giving

Last night my family was invited over to our friends’ house for supper. With kids similar in age, this meant we had four kids at or under 6 years of age. It was fun and boisterous. In the midst of our roasted chicken, laughter, and interrupted conversation (Mama!! I`m really done, can I puhlease be excused?!), I found myself enveloped into a conversation about God’s abundance. 

During our time there, we started talking about stories of transformational giving. Our friend, who works for a social service organization of a partnering denomination, described how a local church had given its end of the year Christmas offering to a local social service organization. This was extraordinary as many churches rely on end of the year gifts to ensure they are able to make all budget needs. This is especially true as sometimes parishioners pledge but aren’t able to complete their pledge or unexpected expenses arise that require additional giving. 

This Church was willing to look beyond its own needs. Instead they believed they had enough and collectively gave their resources to a social service organization that impacted the lives of many in their local community.
I immediately remembered (and shared) a similar story that occurred in my life about decade ago. In 2005-2006, my husband and I served as missionaries for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Taiwan. As part of our training, we fundraised for part of our expenses. A small parish, in the Diocese of Olympia operating week to week for its income, gave up its much-needed offering to support our ministry. Again, believing they would have enough, they gave sacrificially.

I came away from our meal last night thinking about other examples of giving in my life. Our conversation sparked both an increased connection to my friends but also a deep feeling of gratitude.

Stories of transformational giving are powerful. They cross denominational, organizational, and missional lines. When given the opportunity, the sharing of stories of giving unite communities. It provides individuals an opportunity to reflect on how another’s sacrificial gift impacted their life profoundly. 

When we think about stewardship education, here’s one simple way to teach about giving year round. Do you have a personal story to tell? How does your parish provide a year-round opportunity for story telling around God’s table?

Don't miss a blog post! Subscribe via email or RSS, using the grey box on the upper right.