OUR JOURNEY TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM
The Fifth Sunday Offering
Meadowlake Church has embarked on a journey in 2011 to reduce its mortgage by adopting a Fifth Sunday offering. During the year, there are four times a fifth Sunday occurs in a month. On those Sunday’s in 2011, a special offering is made and every dollar goes immediately towards reducing the mortgage principal. These offerings are in addition to our normal pledges for the operating budget, but the congregation has shown overwhelming support of this offering by collecting nearly $10,000 in its first offering. This special offering allows Meadowlake to continue building its future, not on a foundation of shifting sands, but on a foundation of rock- solid as that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A TITHING PERSPECTIVE
Growing Up with Little
Like many Americans during the 1960’s & 70’s my family was very poor. This was compounded by the fact that my parents married in their midteens and had five children by their early-twenties. As a young child I do not remember being poor. That wasn’t a word used to describe ones’ own family. Licking S & H Green Stamps was just another craft. I thought all Christmas ornaments were homemade. I remember stringing hundreds of Cheerios onto yarn to make garlands for the tree. Except, in our case, the O’s came from a white box with the generic lettering: OAT CEREAL.
The older I got the more aware I was of our financial situation. My mother would get particularly creative just before payday, feeding us day-old white bead soaked in Carnation powdered milk.
I started feeling some resentment when I got into middle school. Our limited wardrobe did not come from The Limited but from Kmart where all our school, play and church clothes plus 2 pairs of shoes came from. We never ate out, never went to the movies and the family vacation was to visit my Aunt Pauline where we could stay for free and go to the local animal shelter; the poor man’s petting zoo.
Yet every Sunday, without fail, there was The Check. Just before church my mom would sit down and write out the weekly contribution to our church. The check was neatly folded and safeguarded until the collection plate came around. One Sunday, I was somehow in charge of dropping the offering in the plate and, of course, I couldn’t resist peeking at the amount. $25.00!! How could this be? I was eating soggy bread for breakfast and sporting a home-perm while the church got $25.00 a week! I was so mad. I was also scared. Were we giving away what little money we had to the church? Was that why I had to make popcorn balls to hand out at Halloween instead of real candy or spend hours in the library instead of at the mall?no matter how poor we were, there are so many others with so much less. Did I have shoes? Yes. Did I always have some food? Yes. Did I have a roof over my head? Yes. And even though my shoes were knock-offs, my food was “creative” and I shared a room with 2 siblings, I was always clothed, fed and sheltered. This is why we give.
My mom was an intimidating woman and there was no way I was bringing up any of these issues at the time. So it wasn’t until recently that I asked her why we gave “so much” money to the church. She said that
As I’ve gotten older, wiser and raised a family of my own, I see the true blessings of having so little materially. My family ate every meal together around a big table and talked about our day. We played cards and board games instead of ignoring each other in a dark movie theatre. We worked together for hours making popcorn balls, sewing clothes and even perming each other’s hair. We camped-out in close quarters and hiked in the beauty of God’s world. I miss those days; especially as I hear my kids argue over whose turn it is to play the Wii, choose the movie or pick which restaurant we’ll rush through.
We all need to get back to those days where we live simply, give freely, want what we have and know that what we do have is enough. I need to re-introduce my children to those homemade projects we’ve gotten away from. After all, Christmas will be here before we know it so we better get started on those garlands soon. I may even splurge and buy Cheerios.
Written by Michelle S.
If you would like to have your offerings deducted each month via automatic bank draft, please click the link above to access the form and return it to the Meadowlake Church office.