How do you measure generosity? #40acts blog

How do you measure generosity? #40acts blog

I thought I was being generous when I put my envelope in the collection plate at Old Orchard United Methodist Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard, and we had bought a home in Cherry Hill, a 25-minute drive to the base.

We began attending Old Orchard Methodist shortly after we moved in.  Since joining the Navy in 1964, Pat and I had been stationed in, and attending churches in  New Port, Rhode Island, Athens, Georgia, San Diego, CA, Bremerton and Seattle Washington, Long Beach and San Diego, California, Sasebo Japan, Libertyville, Illinois, Ann Arbor Michigan, and Newport Rhode Island again before finally buying a home in Cherry Hill.  We had been Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and non-denominationalists.  Since we were at most places for less than three years, we never actually joined or got very active in any of the churches.Old Orchard was different.  When we first visited in

Old Orchard was different.  When we first visited in 1979, we immediately felt at home, and the church became our family.  Our kids attended Sunday school, and we attended Bible Study, and we became regular visitors.

One Sunday the minister, who we really liked, took me aside after the service and asked me when we were going to join the church.  He said it was about time.  We had never given it much thought since we hadn’t joined any other churches, but after much thought finally made the decision to join.

In those days, joining meant pledging, and we did.  I remember thinking that this was a big step for us since we had not had a real church home in the fifteen years we had been in the Navy.  So, I pledged and faithfully deposited my envelope in the collection plate every Sunday morning – $ 7.50 a week come rain or come shine!

I had always heard about tithing, but never really gave it much of a thought.

After being members for about 6 months, I was asked to be on the church council, and I agreed.  I think I was on the mission committee, and I remember being in charge of the annual fall festival to raise mission funds.  It was great!One day the minister, who had become a good friend, took me aside and said he would like to talk about my financial commitment to the church.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember that after our talk, I came to the conclusion that my $ 7.50 a week, which was based on what my dad gave to our church in Park Ridge, Illinois in the 1950’s, was not exactly what God would expect from me.

One day the minister, who had become a good friend, took me aside and said he would like to talk about my financial commitment to the church.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember that after our talk, I came to the conclusion that my $ 7.50 a week, which was based on what my dad gave to our church in Park Ridge, Illinois in the 1950’s, was not exactly what God would expect from me.

So Pat and I decided to tithe.  I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was considerably more than $ 7.50 a week;  we felt good about it. Now we were being generous, and it felt good.

Now we were being generous, and it felt good.

I’m still not sure how to measure generosity, but I know what it feels like when I am generous; it feels good!

 

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