My first memory of giving is my father handing me pennies to put in the collection plate on Sunday mornings. I felt so grown up for all of my three or four years of age. I remember too, bringing my offering to Sunday School, wrapped in a handkerchief. So started my life journey in the gift of giving, albeit with many fits and starts over the years.
Today I know that giving a few pennies or more is only part of stewardship, and again I look to my father for inspiration. I've been told by my siblings that my father gave to many people, taking in cousins to live with us and giving his services (master electrician, carpenter, mechanic, farmer) freely to many family and friends. When remembering my father, I see a life of service and stewardship lived to the fullest. I strive for that in my own life.
Interestingly enough, most of the jobs I have held over the years involve service of some nature - working for an optometrist, hotel industry and now in healthcare support, always helping others. I've never really thought about that until now. Even in church, I've always been active in choir and have served as a member of chapter or vestry and on various committees.
Over the last 10 years or so, I have been giving, not 10 percent, but proportionally and have managed each year to give just a little more. My goal is that some day in the near future I can meet the 10 percent mark. As remembering to write checks has never been my strong suit, I have found that the easiest method for me is to set up a monthly electronic payment to St Mark's. I always feel a little anxiety each year when I change this amount, but I also feel a little thrill in knowing that it works and God provides.