Building equity – Barbara Gass.
My fiancé and I just purchased our first home in October. It is a 1966 build and our inspector said it was the best house he’s ever inspected that was built in the 60s. His final report proved that it had a solid foundation, updated PVC plumbing, and a new roof — a new homeowner’s dream.
One of the things I loved most about the house is that there had only been one previous family that owned the home before us. The owners built the house, raised their family in it and were steadfast stewards of the structure. There are a couple things that date it, though; the stove was original, and the kitchen layout is not quite functional for a bustling family kitchen. Overall, despite some of the minor flaws, it is the perfect first house for us.
I couldn’t help to think that this first home was a great metaphor for my giving to Wilshire over the years. I am fortunate that I grew up in a family where giving was integral to our lifeblood and expected of me from a young age. Of my $10 allowance as a child, $1 always went in my offering envelope to put in the plate every Sunday. That practice has luckily transitioned into my adulthood. In college, I tithed to my local Austin church with my small monthly budget and now I tithe my earnings from my job to Wilshire. My giving to the church via the Unified Budget monthly mirrors my new mortgage payment. They are both on auto-debit from my checking account.
Giving to the Unified Budget allows me to benefit from George’s preaching, listen to our beautiful music ministry, grow with my dear Ithaka classmates, participate in the homebound ministry and serve on the Finance Committee. It is, in a way, allowing me to build equity in this community of faith we have by participating in the riches that the church has to offer.
I also give to the Pathways Endowment and made a pledge to contribute above and beyond my monthly tithe to help boost the program to a point where it can be self-sustaining. This, to me, reminds me of our current kitchen renovation. It doesn’t need to be done, but our kitchen renovation opens up the heart of our home just like our Pathways ministry opens up the heart of our church.
George’s sermon last Sunday sums up my feelings about giving to Wilshire perfectly. We don’t know what Wilshire will look like in 100 years or who will be members. I also don’t know what my home will look like in 100 years or who will inhabit it. What I can do in my lifetime is be a good steward of my church and of my home so those who come after me can continue to build a community of faith shaped by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, whatever that may look like.
• Barbara Gass grew up at Wilshire. She is a member of Ithaka Class and serves on the Finance Committee. She works as a lending specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.