Tom & Robbie’s Story

(Robbie) “On Dec. 8, 1972, Tom and I eloped after my calculus final. We had nothing to speak of – two college students living on $15.00 a week for food and gas – and gas was important. It got us from campus to my parents’ house, where we had the promise of a buffet dinner out if we showed up for worship on Sunday. Many a week we returned to campus with full bellies and a cooler my mama packed with food she thought we ‘might need’ but she ‘just wasn’t going to be able to use.’ Tom and I were an economic unit with a lousy economy, but the love of God was plentiful in the generosity shown to us by our church and parents.”

(Tom) “College graduation brought new independence and a move away from family. Church became just one option on Sunday mornings, and our attendance sporadic. It would be our first child who would bring us back to the church for good.”

(Robbie) “Though our faith and commitment grew, we were challenged to trust God with all aspects of our lives. The loss of our baby Robert and, later, the death of our beloved son, John, could easily have led us away from God. Yet, our church and family surrounded us, let us cry and gave us the confidence that God is always with us.”

(Tom) “I clung to that on a particular day about 20 years ago in New York, where my colleague, Mike, and I spent a morning trying to convince a bank we had nothing to do with our parent company’s financial misadventures. We received a phone call from the company’s law firm ‘asking’ us to come for an appointment that afternoon. I hung up, found the Gideon Bible in my hotel room and read it urgently. Gathering up as much courage as I could, I went with Mike to the appointment, where the attorney across the table said to our astonishment, ‘We are very sorry we have caused so much trouble for you and ask that you do not sue us.’ I don’t recall much else about that day except that it led to trusting God more fully and beginning my own company, from which our generosity has grown.”

(Robbie) “We clearly give more now than we did living on $15.00 and a cooler of food from my parents, but we know generosity is not based on financial wealth. It is based on trust. Generosity is found in the freedom of trusting God in all circumstances. It is a way to live out Christian faith, a spiritual practice. Being open to generosity is a way to receive the full measure of life God has in store for us.”