My name is Julie Vidonic and my husband and two daughters and I moved to Beaumont two years ago and shortly after started coming to Trinity. We found such a wonderful, loving church home here. During the hurricane I was pregnant and gave birth to our new little boy, and the amount of care and support we received from this church amazed us. We've only been here two years but we feel like we have family here.
When I was asked to speak about giving, the first thing that came to my mind was a verse about joyful giving from 2 Corinthians 9:7. "You must each of you make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully." This idea of giving cheerfully always stood out to me. As I tried to picture what that meant, I thought of when I give a gift to a good friend or family member. It's a gift I found that I just know they are going to love. I wrap it up and I'm so excited to give it to them. Also, I thought of my daughters. They both love making us little cards, pictures and crafts. I have more beautiful little creations than I know what to do with, but my favorite part is watching the joy on their faces when they give me something that they have worked hard on and really put a lot of thought into. Sometimes they literally jump up and down with excitement to give me their gift.
I think God wants us to be like that. Maybe not literally jump up and down, but we are His children and we should be excited and joyful when we bring our gifts to our Father. Like Paul said, not grudgingly, or with a bad attitude or because we feel guilty, but because we are happy to give our Father a gift. Something we worked hard for and put a lot of thought into. Giving because we want to and not because we have to. Because we believe in it. We believe in the ministries of this church, the people we can help and the lives we can touch.
Growing up I was not raised in a church. We never spoke of God, not even on Christmas and Easter. I had a good childhood, a loving home, just not a Christian home. Then when I was 15, a friend invited me to a church youth group. And there were cute boys at this youth group, so of course I went. But while I was there, I heard this message that there was a God who loved me - ME - and it changed my life. I decided to be baptized when I was 18 and as I went to live on my own, I began to try to figure out what living a Christian life looked like. I made a lot of mistakes and struggled so often, but I desperately wanted to live the way God wanted me to live. As Pastor David said a few weeks ago in his sermon, I wanted to be 'all in' with my life for God. I went to church, read my Bible, did mission projects and when the subject came up about giving, I really didn't know what to do, but I knew God wanted me to trust Him.
I remember sitting in church on Sunday when I was in college and looking in my wallet at the 20 dollars I had to last me until Friday. As the offering plate came closer I could think of a million excuses why I couldn't or shouldn't give right now. Why I just didn't have enough. But this voice inside just said 'trust me.' So I grabbed a 5 dollar bill and trusted God. It wasn't much but it was what I had.
God knows what we have and God knows our hearts. I think He wants us to come to Him, as His children, trust Him and joyfully give Him what we have.
Trinity United Methodist Church
3430 Harrison | Beaumont, TX 77706
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