This past Sunday we continued through our Vision Month with a focus on financial stewardship.
One of our COD families, John and Elizabeth Gregorich, shared some of their stewardship journey with us during the services.
I found it so encouraging, and asked them if we could share some of it again this week with our email community. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me!
Next Gen Pastor
P.S. The Lord has been so faithful to us a community here at Church of the Open Door, and we’re eager to praise Him as the giver of all good gifts! I encourage you to be part expressing thanks and praise and dependence this Sunday at a Worship & Prayer Night, and next week at our Annual Meeting.
If you can believe it, John and I have been married for 17 years now. We have four kids ages 5 to 13 (pictured above), so we’ve got a lot to provide for. We are not afraid, though, because God has been so faithful to us as we have trusted Him.
Pastor David Newkirk asked us to respond to the following questions:
What have you seen God do in your family as you continue to trust Him with your finances?
What blessings have you seen God give your family?
These are really fun questions to answer, because it made us think of all the ways God has walked with us through the years. It’s exciting stuff!
When we were newly married, both working entry-level jobs with college loans and rent to pay, we decided to give to the church monthly what we could. It always seemed like not that much, but I know God was pleased.
It reminds me of when children give gifts to those they love. They find a beautiful rock, or a pine cone, or draw a nice picture. It’s nothing of much importance, but when they give, they give expecting you to be pleased, to be encouraged, and to know that they love you
And they like to watch and see what you will do with it. Will it be a new decoration by the front door? Will you hang it on the fridge? Will you show it to others in excitement?
Sometimes I think God wants us to give to Him in this way. What will God do with my meager amount this month?
Will He know that I gave because I love Him? Yes!
Will He use it for something good? Yes!
Sometimes we don’t always get to see exactly what He does with it, but we can trust that it makes Him glad.
Another question we sometimes have, though, is, “Will He take care of me if I give Him this amount?”
He knows that we have these questions. He made us and knows we struggle with trusting Him. He is so tender to us. When we give – whether it’s easy or not – He gives reminders to show that He knows and He cares.
When we had our first baby, we switched from two incomes to one income. We had to be extra careful about what we spent and how we lived. I can’t tell you how many times we prayed for our 20-year-old cars to pass smog and keep running one more year.
Once, when our first baby was crawling all over the place, he grabbed our only lamp in the living room, pulled it over, and completely broke it. It was near the end of the month, and we had no extra money to replace it.
I cried out to God, “How can I get a new one?” I decided to go to Target to see if I could find something inexpensive. When I got out of the car, I stepped on a Target gift card. It looked as if it had been run over a couple times and I figured it was probably empty, but I picked it up and brought it in with me.
I found a cheap lamp that would do the trick and went to check out. I tried the gift card, which did have something on it, and I ended up only paying fifty cents for that lamp!
God was reminding me that He was taking care of us.
I could share so many more examples of God’s kindness to us in big and small ways, but we’d be here for a very long time!
If you’ve ever brought us a meal, given us hand-me-downs, helped with home repairs, or so many other things . . . thank you! You are reminders to us that God does care and He loves to provide.
In response to all these small and big ways God provides, we want to keep giving back to Him.
Giving to Him is like prayer. When we give to something, or pray for something, our hearts are invested in it. We are a part of it.
When we give to our missionaries, we are supporting God’s work through them. We get to be excited when another person believes, when a Bible school building is completed, when a refugee finds the aid he needs, when a student grows in her faith, when a hurting pastor is encouraged, or so many other ways God works that we can be a part of all around the world.
And right here at home! This church is a lifeline for us.
- Why wouldn’t we want to give to the place that has been a source of growth and encouragement through the years?
- Why wouldn’t we want to support this youth ministry that helps our 13-year-old and his goofy friends to know God’s truth in this crazy world and helps him learn to follow God for himself?
- Why wouldn’t we want to support the nursery that has cared for all four of our babies, and the children’s ministry as they pour their hearts into our kids and teach them about the love God has for each of them?
- Why wouldn’t we want to give to all the other ministries that teach us, challenge us, and lead us into a deeper walk with God and bring us before Him in worship each week?
- Or what about this amazing property that God has blessed us with? Why wouldn’t we want to respond in thanksgiving to our wonderful God who has given us this place?
And then we can’t wait to see what He will do. This is exciting and joyful stuff!
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 116:12, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?”
The answer is: there’s NO WAY!
Whatever we give will never repay God for loving us and rescuing us from sin and death . . . but we can respond to His love for us by trusting Him enough to make Him Lord of our finances, by giving our gifts of love to Him and watching to see what He does.
With much excitement and joy,
Elizabeth (& John) Gregorich