As the holiday season approaches, I can feel it welling up in me: the almost giddiness of knowing that I will get to bless people in my life in a tangible way. Even though I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, some of my earliest memories are of my dad giving to those in need and to those he loved. Christmas in our home was a magical time. Looking back now, I am certain my parents had to make sacrifices to ensure Christmas morning was so special. Maybe that is part of the reason why giving has become such a joy to me.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 19 years old. I was a college kid, and like most college kids, I was broke. It took all the money I had just to make it through the week, and sometimes that wasn’t even enough. I remember my college pastor telling me about giving to my local church. It was a struggle to say the least, but knowing this was something that Jesus called me to do, I gave it a go.
That was really the beginning of my understanding that all this stuff on earth was really never mine to begin with. We don’t give or tithe because God needs our money. He is the very Creator of the universe, so I am certain that He has all He needs. No, God in His kindness, allows people like you and me to be stewards of His things. Think about that for just a second. God is essentially saying, “I will entrust you with this place and all it encompasses. Use it well for my glory.” And because that is true, the sheer act of being able to give is a gift.
So, there I was, a poor college student giving away a little bit of my money with every paycheck. It wasn’t long until I realized that in the weeks I gave, there always seemed to be enough money in the bank, and during the weeks I decided not to give, money was tight. It was a tangible display of faith. It was tasting and seeing that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). The more I trusted Him, the more I could see Him providing at every turn. Giving was changing me. Of course, considering that Jesus was willing to give everything for me, it should not be surprising that joy was what I found as I began to hand over what was already His.
As I got older and was blessed with a family of my own, tithing became a necessary part of our weekly rhythm. It didn’t matter how much daycare was, or what bills were due, Jesus and His kingdom was the first priority.
One of the most tangible ways I saw God move in our finances was when our church started a building campaign. As our church continued to grow, my sweet husband and I had to decide if we could give more than our weekly tithe. Out of a heart of trusting God with the future of our local church and our home, we stepped out in faith.
What we didn’t know was that COVID was coming and all that came with it. When we couldn’t meet in person, we were able to give online because using church software, like Aplos, allows a church congregation to tithe from anywhere. In a time when there was so much uncertainty, it felt more important than ever that we move forward in faith; being able to give directly from our home was part of that.
We saw God provide, not only in our life, but also for our church. Part of that building campaign was the purchase of a property with lots of land—land that we would meet on for months when we couldn’t gather indoors. It became a safe haven in our community, and God used our willingness to give to help make that possible.
The joy that started in me when I was young as I watched my dad through this season has only grown with time. God has proven faithful in my life. It does not mean there are no hard moments or times when I wonder how it will all work out. What it does mean is that Jesus is trustworthy with my time, talents, and treasures. As I have surrendered my life and given God what was rightfully His to begin with, He has brought peace and certainty in my life.
As you head into the holiday season, I encourage you to ask Jesus what He may have for you. Perhaps it is giving for the first time or serving at your local church during the holiday season. You might just be surprised by what happens when you ask Jesus if you can help meet the needs of those around you. Happy giving!