by Wendy Gustafson
I was in college when I first tasted artichokes. I had never even seen one before. The Housemother at the Tri Delta house invited me to tea and served artichokes—I mean that whole plant thing on a plate with lemon butter and mayonnaise dip. Scraping the pithy, important part off with my teeth was pretty primal, but kind of neat, too. I found out I really liked artichokes and they were worth the trouble. If Mrs. Richardson had not invited me to tea, I might never have known artichokes. Sometimes you just have to try a thing, just try it.
It is the same with pledging. Just try it. If you don’t try it, you might never know in how many intimate and personal ways God wants to care for you. Try a tithe. Make it the first thing that gets paid each month, not the last. As your thank offering, give your first and best to God. Then pay close attention. Wait and watch what happens next. Wait patiently. Watch expectantly. Watch carefully.
And then turn yourself inside out with thanksgiving for what you now see God doing, not just with “your” money, but with your Self! Suddenly, quietly, you see and feel peace and freedom and newness and opportunity… and you find that you are becoming the very person God knows you to be.
This is the Heartwork, the risky “putting yourself, wholeheartedly, into the Hands of an Invisible Cosmic Being Who happens to love you completely” part. This is the obedience that unlocks the treasure troves of what God has prepared for you. They all have your name on them.
While you are basking in this Pool of Yes, your call to service will be made known to you. You will become aware of the next step. The next place God wants to use you will be clear. This is the Headwork of the Kingdom of God. Pay attention. You will be shown the needs of others and called upon to respond. God will place you right where He needs you. Plans get made. Resources are marshaled.
Then comes the Legwork, the actual doing. Here is the work. Here is where you spend yourself. And here are the true gifts God gives you in response to the gift you have placed in His Hands. Legwork moves you into the lives of others, into their space. These lives touch your life, and both lives are blessed when God is there, too. Here, right here, is the true blessing of stewardship. Here, in communion with the life experiences of others, you see other facets of God. That beautiful heart-to-heart grows and grows.
Your pledge tells God “I am Yours” and “Thank you.” It says “I want to be a part of the Kingdom Come.” It says, “Use me.” God is eager to bless you. Your pledge lets Him know you think He will. Just give it a try.