What is your earliest memory of giving and of receiving? Mine involves my grandmother; she took me out to lunch every year on my birthday, letting me pick the restaurant (as a kid that was usually McDonald’s or Arby’s), and then we went shopping and I got to pick out whatever I wanted as long as it was under a certain limit. As an adult I can appreciate that her giving was how we all should give….selflessly. She didn’t make me eat where she wanted to eat (most likely the K&W Cafeteria or the Carriage House), and she didn’t give me something she thought I should have; she let me choose. My birthday present from her was all about me; she made me feel incredibly special. Her joy came not from the feeling of having selected the perfect present for me, but from our spending time together.
One of the activities we use with pastors, lay leaders, and others is called the Giving Autobiography. It’s a series of questions to help people reflect on their experiences with giving, their values, their faith, and how those intersect. We hope you will take some time in the upcoming months to form your own Giving Autobiography and we hope you’ll write it down. Then you can reread it over the years as well as share it with your loved ones. We also hope you’ll let your Giving Autobiography guide you as you recognize God’s grace and generosity at work in your life and think about how you respond. There is sometimes disconnectedness between what we care about and how we spend our time and money; our faith doesn’t always mesh with how we make use of the resources with which we’ve been blessed. The Giving Autobiography is a great tool to use to help us connect our values and our faith with our giving.
- What is your earliest memory of giving and receiving?
- What are the practices of faith and giving you remember from childhood?
- Who has most deeply touched your life or influenced your family as a giver?
- To what people and places do you feel a sense of gratitude?
- What values do you hold most dear?
- How would you like to use your finances for the renewal of God’s world?