Ted: I was one of seven children and grew up in New Jersey. My dad worked for Hallmark Cards. He didn’t make a lot of money, but my parents were very committed to the idea that all their children were going to go to college. Any extra money that they made went to our college savings accounts.
That obviously is a very admirable thing that they did for us, but it had a distorted impact on me, where I had difficulty with money. I liked to make it. I liked to save it. I did not like to spend it. And I definitely did not like to give it away.
Lori: We were at another church before we came to St. John the Divine, and the annual time for making our pledge would come. And we would pray about it. We would talk about it. And we would struggle with it a little bit. And we would always get to this point, and I would say, “Okay. You write your number down on a piece of paper, and I’ll write my number down a piece of paper.” And we would do that, and inevitably there would be some distance between those two numbers. We always worked our way through that and got to a place where we were both comfortable. But I think we both felt like we weren’t where we should be or could be.
Ted: Fourteen years ago, I found God and St. John the Divine at the same time. I recognized that I had a problem with generosity, among other problems. And I sought the advice of Doug Richnow and Larry Hall. The mostdiffi cult part of generosity for me was the change of heart, and I had that. I was ready to change. And I remember going to lunch with Larry Hall. And I told him how much money I made. And I was looking for him to tell me how much I was supposed to give. And I remember Larry saying, “Ted, I’m not going to tell you how much to give. I can tell you that generosity and giving is an act of faith. It’s supposed to be sacrifi cial, and it’s supposed to hurt a little bit.”
Lori: I think we’ve come a long way in this journey. This church home has meant so much to us, and we are committed to giving our time and our talent, and certainly our treasure to St. John the Divine. And it has been amazing to see how God is so faithful to us. There’s so much encouragement in Scripture on this very point. And we’ve really seen it in our own lives, that the more that we give, God multiplies for us, be it our time, the way we pour in, and certainly in our treasure. He has been so faithful to us, and that’s really been an incredible thing to witness.