Unlike many of the people we’ve seen up here during stewardship season, I don’t have decades of history of giving to the church. I started attending St. John’s when I moved here last year; that was also the first year I had a “real job”, and the first year I gave a fixed percentage of my income to the church.

It’s not that I didn’t think tithing was important before last year. My parents started training my brothers and me young, giving us our $1 weekly allowance and showing us how to put a dime into the “offerings” cup, a dime into the “savings” cup, and the rest into the cup of money that we could use.

But in college and grad school, despite the niggling sense that it was important to give back to God a little bit of what God has given me, the message I heard from many of the adult Christians in my life was “you [students] don’t need to tithe yet. Wait until you have more financial security, more steady jobs, more stable lives.” My giving to the church was sporadic at best – in part because I wanted to protect myself against an uncertain future.

So last fall, with my first steady non-student income, was a good opportunity for me to properly decide what my financial priorities are. As part of taking my place as an “adult” member of the church, tithing is one of those priorities. So: I give to St. John’s as an act of trust, recognizing that God holds my future, so I don’t need to have it all under control. I give to St. John’s as a reminder that everything I have comes from God, not through my own merit, and still ultimately belongs to God. I give to St. John’s because I believe God is at work here, in and through us, and I want to be part of it. And I give to St. John’s so that our church can show God’s love to our community – because the Bible consistently shows God’s people caring for those the world doesn’t.

–Anna Plantinga