By Scott Trinder
For starters, I am a 'cradle' Anglican − brought up in the Anglican faith since birth. Growing up, I lived in Windsor, and going to church weekly with my family and to Sunday School was something you did on Sunday mornings, because a lot of your friends were doing the same thing!
Church was part of the weekly routine. How times have changed! I remember my parents made me wear a "Fedora" hat to church and I hated wearing that thing! (Funny the things we remember!)
In my early teens, I was involved in our church's Youth Group; but I only attended because my friends were there, not because I was interested so much in church. In my later teens, I quit attending church altogether. I completely lost interest and purpose. I was doing fine, without it.
Fast forward to my adult life. I got married to my best friend, Dianne, and we found ourselves living in Wyoming Ontario. We lived about four houses down from St. John's Church and every Sunday, they rang the church bells. Forget about sleep!
After several weeks we gave in and thought maybe God was trying to tell us something. But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
A few years later, I changed jobs and moved to Sarnia, and one Sunday we decided to attend Trinity church there. Well, it took us by surprise to say the least! A couple of guitars, clapping hands, raised hands, and people looking like they were actually really enjoying this worship time together! At the end of the service folks greeted us and invited us to stay for coffee. Before leaving, I checked out the church sign and realized we were in an Anglican church!!
Our spiritual growth began to blossom. Some of these folks seemed to have something good that I didn't have! Turns out, they had JESUS!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22).
I accepted Jesus as my Saviour in January 1982, while on a Cursillo weekend. Many people from Trinity had attended these weekends and either found Jesus (or more likely He found them!) or grew closer to Him. Honestly, I was quite scared to go, but my sponsor encouraged me to attend along with my wife Dianne.
As a new Christian, I found this love and peace that I'd never experienced before. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!! (2 Corinthians 5:17) And I made the commitment to follow Jesus; to learn to love Him and to serve Him with the gifts He'd given me.
Which brings me to share that I've served as Treasurer at Trinity, Sarnia for many years now. And one of the first things the Lord brought to my attention as Treasurer, was Tithing. (Yup, that T word that scares so many folks!)
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. (Deuteronomy 14:22)
OUCH − 10% − are you kidding me??
“Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, 'How are we to return?' “Will a mere mortal rob God?”
Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, 'How are we robbing you?'
“Jn tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – your whole nation – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Malachi 3:7b-10)
Tithing has changed my life! Very hard at first, for sure, but blessings as a result that continue to follow to this day.
Years ago, I had a month when funds were really tight, but I still paid my tithe, trusting that the Lord would provide. Approximately 2-3 days later I got a cheque from my grandmother's estate!! God did provide, and He always does.
Bottom line? The Lord owns 100%. He is only asking for 10%. By giving him our money right off the top, everything else falls into place. God does provide! God is good all the time!
Some final thoughts... How do we keep the fire going? How do we get closer to God?
Well, here's what I do – might be different for you.
For me, it's spending time with the Lord first thing in the morning. Bible readings, devotions…I've found ''You Version" to be an excellent resource, that you can download for free. And PRAYER time. Spending early morning time in prayer with God helps to keep me focused on Jesus as I go about my day.
Something I started a few years ago was a Prayer Journal. I find that many mornings, a Scripture verse will jump out at me, and I put that in my journal. I also put my prayers in there, and then add a date when those prayers are answered. Looking back on answered prayer is faith building!
Then every morning I put on the full armour of God:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
Being in fellowship with other believers keeps that fire going too. And sharing with one another our faith stories too, is so important! Hearing how God is working in another person's life, builds up our own faith.
The future is secure – God's got me, and I know that in Jesus, the victory has already been won – but let's face it, there's often struggles and troubles along the way. But you know what? That's OK, because Jesus has promised He will never leave or forsake me, and I fully trust His promises. He has never let me down.
If you don't yet know Jesus, or if you're sitting on the fence, then today is the day to say YES to Him, to ask Him to reign in your heart and life, just as I did that Cursillo weekend back in 1982.
Jesus Loves you. He adores you! He forgives you. He knows you already, and Scripture tells us that He even prays for you.
If you do say YES to Jesus, simply tell someone - your spouse, your pastor, any true believer. Your life will change! Mine sure did and all for the better. But seek first his Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 3:33)
To God be all the Glory.
Scott Trinder is a parishioner of Trinity, Sarnia.