More Than Enough | Amy McFerrin
I have been spending a considerable amount of time over the past several weeks thinking about various aspects of my life. The most significant of the things I’ve pondered is if I show forth God’s love in all aspects. Have I aligned my career, my marriage, my role as a parent, or even how I take care of my body, for example, so that all I am and all I do ultimately point to God? In that, I have also critiqued my finances. Do I reflect the love of God in the management of my finances? How did I get to where I am?
It has been interesting for me and Dwayne to look at how our giving to the church and our attitude toward giving has changed over the past 24 years of marriage. It hasn’t always occurred to us to even try to be generous or sacrificial givers. As newlyweds, we were young and very much on our own financially. A lance corporal in Marine Corps and a full time student waiting tables, we attended church sporadically and gave sporadically. In our eyes we were so very busy and working so very hard to get by that we couldn’t carve out any more time or money. I think we felt that our giving so little to our church was justified. Plus- and here is the essence of it all- we were afraid, anxious and worried. Afraid of not having enough. Who would help us if we didn’t make it on our own? Our parents weren’t in positions to help us. In fact, we often times were helping them. So giving to the church was not a priority, but an afterthought.
We became more active in our church, contributing more of our time and talent, while our giving remained sporadic. In time, our income increased, and we did accordingly give more. But still we gave from what was left over. It wasn’t sacrificial giving, it was what was easy and doable, because we were still afraid. The first time we stretched ourselves to give not from the leftovers, was the Loaves and Fishes capital campaign here at St. Timothy’s in the early 2000s. It was the biggest gift we had ever made to a church, and it was a turning point for us.
We began to stand up to fear, anxiety and worry. We started to make giving a priority, and used what was left over for us and for our family. At first there were thoughts about the other things we could do with the money we were giving. Vacation. Opportunities and experiences for our young daughters. College savings. All thoughts that, practical as they may have been, have their root in fear. Fear that we wouldn’t get to experience enough or do enough or have enough. We had yet to realize that God had given us more than enough.
Even while that fear was alive, underlying it was something more powerful- an expanding love of the church and it’s work. Eventually we had a peaceful realization that those old fears were being overcome by a willingness and eagerness to give. We freely admit that even though the past few years of sacrificial and generous giving have not always been comfortable, we are comforted by how we are being transformed. No longer do we pine for the things and the missed opportunities we don’t have because of our giving. Giving sacrificially has actually made more room in lives and in our hearts for love.
Do I reflect the love of God in the management of my finances? I have not always even wanted to do that, but now that I do, I certainly hope the love of God that has grown in our hearts pours forth in this and all aspects of my life. Stewardship is a tool to help me in my journey to this goal of being pointed in the direction of God. My prayer is that we all will be filled with the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and our fears, whatever they may be, be cast out.
~There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18