Why I Give: The Rev. Sungho Lee

July 11, 2013

The Rev. Sungho Lee recently shared the following reflection with the denomination's connectional giving office:


Once, I visited my church member's dry-cleaning establishment. It was a hot, summer day. He was sweating and working hard in the hot, small room. He complained about his life and grumbled against our church. Then he started talking about the offering. Every week he would give one dollar to God but not more than that. He said he earned 1 cent by cleaning one shirt. So, to give $100 to our church during the offering time, he had to wash and press 1,000 shirts. Then he turned to me and looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Pastor, do you think I still have to give $100 to God every week?"


Without blinking, I said, "Sure! I give because I cannot waste any penny that I have earned with so much blood and sweat. I want my money used in the best way for the best cause. You know, if I have to sweat like you working hard on this summer day, I would not use the money I earned for drinking. I would not spend the money for my own pleasure. I would not use the money for trivial things in life. I would use it only for things that have eternal and precious value. The money you earn is like your blood. You would not want to waste it. You would not want to use it just for fun. I would give it only to God and use it only for a holy and noble cause. It is so precious and worthy. It is like your life."


He was speechless. He became thoughtful. Then the next Sunday he gave his precious $100 bill in the offering plate. He understood the value of the money that he earned with his sweat and blood. Now he knew what should come first. I pray that we all can grasp the simple truth and give generously to God. Let us live for something that has eternal value.


–The Rev. Sungho Lee, Concord United Methodist Church, Concord, Calif.


This and other stories about connectional giving can be found here.