As I look back and reflect on why I support and give my commitment to Trinity UM Church, it is based on my faith and trust in God. Trinity has been here through the good things and not so good things of life. I believe that life is like a roller coaster with all of its ups and downs and loops upside down, but with God at the controls, everything works out. I pray frequently and often to God hoping he will guide and direct me in my daily living and I know that I don’t always hear him because I am a little bull headed being born under Taurus the Bull and it is very hard for me to let someone else run my life. I recently shared with the stewardship Bible Study group at our house that I even went so far to ask God to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4 so I would get his message. Well, fortunately I did not get hit over the head with a 2 x 4, but instead God used the people around me to serve as this “2 x 4” and let me know what he had planned for me if I will only trust Him and have faith in Him. Since I just retired in August, I have been doing more praying than ever before because I am in a completely different financial situation than I have ever been before. Let me tell you, it is scary. I have always had a paycheck coming in twice a month but now with retirement, that paycheck is substantially different. My financial giving to support Trinity reflects completely on faith and trust in God. My dad always told us kids that if you truly believe in something, then support it however you can or it just might go away. Well, I truly believe in Trinity and what this church stands for. I rely so much on the power of prayer that I pray many times a day asking for God’s guidance and direction. I probably pray even more now since I drive a school bus for LSC, and trust me, there are days I need all the guidance and help God can give me. Those kids are placing their complete faith and trust in me getting them safely to school and then back home in the afternoon. I didn’t think too much about it, but God is like our life bus driver every day taking all of us on all kinds of journeys. Yes, he puts up with our good, bad, and ugly things we do, but we are human and he goes right along with all of our shenanigans. So when I started thinking about my commitment to Trinity, I know that He has great plans ahead for Trinity and he wants me on board. We serve as His disciples/ambassadors to this community to help fulfill our vision of service and if we don’t support what we have here, I believe we will leave a big void in this community. One of my all-time favorite hymns is on page 593, “Here I Am.” This song is based on the book of Isaiah, Ch. 6: Verse 8 with these words: “I then heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ and Isaiah said, “Here I am, send me.”
Will you answer as Isaiah, giving your complete faith and trust in God, and say “HERE I AM”?
Earlier this year, I participated in a small group study led by Pastor Tracey. As part of that, we were asked to write our spiritual autobiographies. When I was thinking about what I wanted to say about stewardship today, I went back to what I wrote for that, and I found that my answer was right there. I want to share with you a small portion of what I wrote.
I was brought up in the church, the United Methodist Church, specifically. I remember kids’ choir, the Hanging of the Greens, lots of fellowship meals, Christmas Eve services, Easter cantatas, Vacation Bible School, and on and on.
So many people in that church helped shape me and my early spirituality. Mostly, though, I am struck by the incredible example of my mother, who modeled Christianity and Christian love for me and my brother in so many ways. She taught us about prayer, she taught us the great songs of the church, she showed us how to participate actively in a church community, and to contribute through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, and our service.
Now that I am a parent, I realize more clearly how much she was doing, and what an incredible gift she was giving us, a legacy of faith. I want to give that same gift to my children, and I’m so grateful that with my husband Matt I have a full and true partner in that process.
So, why do I give to the church? My gift is an offering of gratitude for my past, a commitment from my family for the present, and a legacy for my children’s future.
I am Peggy Sample Reen. When I was asked to give this stewardship moment this song came to mind: He Leadeth Me; O Blessed Thought. When I was in high school I took piano lessons and I would sit for hours and play and sing to myself the songs in the little brown hymnal and this is one of the songs I sang. It goes like this:
He leadeth me; O blessed thought
O words with heavenly comfort fraught
Whatever I do, where ever I be;
Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
I have thought about it and in order to answer the question, why do I give, I feel I need to tell you who I am and where I come from. I was born on a dairy farm in Tennessee and my grandmother took us to church in a buggy from the time I was a baby so I have been part of a Methodist church as long as I can remember. She lost her husband when her children were small. She was a devout Christian and had a very strong character and raised her 4 children alone. We were a very close family and were very involved in the church, it was our family. I spent lots of time with my grandmother and a lot of her character I see in myself. I love people and have compassion and understanding, thus why I chose nursing as my profession.
The second person that helped make me who I am is my mother. She set an example for her children to follow. She loved God and her fellow man unconditionally. She studied her Bible and prayed every day and she loved to go to God’s house. She was very active in the church, and when she died I got her Bible.
Thus the answer to the question, why do I support Trinity?, is easy. To me, developing relationships is the most important part of one's life and being committed and involved in what ever you belong to makes one’s life meaningful. Some of the people that have influenced my life here at Trinity are Margaret and Harry Galloway who invited Noel and I to come to Trinity. Genève McCord who was a gracious, giving person, who showed me how to pray. Melba Anderson who taught my children. Gary and Marilyn Forbes helped me become involved in the life of the church. Gary is the only pastor that helped to grow the endowment fund and that made an impression on me. Kim Reisman who taught Disciple Bible that changed my life. I could go on but this shows you how important getting involved and making relationships are to your life.
I told myself a long time ago I wanted to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, so I volunteered to be on the Council of Ministries and became involved and God has been leading me ever sense. It is a matter of priorities. Trust the Lord completely and in everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts. Be truthful and kind, let love and faithfulness always lead you, don’t be conceited, and honor the Lord by giving him the first part of you income. When you serve other or give your money, you are serving God. When I took the oath of membership I vowed to give of myself, my time, my talents and my money to serve the Lord and that is why I give to Trinity.
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