It was 1985. I was a recent graduate with an Accounting degree, I was a Christian, and I had a pulse, so they asked me to lead the financial ministry at our little church. The job mainly consisted of counting the weekly offering and depositing the money in the bank. I wanted to help so I said, “Yes.”
I was hesitant to take the job because I personally wasn’t much of a giver. I had good reasons for not giving much money. I was a new Christian and I had only recently heard of the concept of giving a tithe (to tithe is to give the first 10% of all your income to God) – that seemed both radical and impossible to me at the time. I was just out of college and newly married and living from check to check. We gave money to our church but only out of the tiny little bit left over after we paid our bills and so it wasn’t a lot. I felt unqualified for the job but I still said, “Yes,” maybe because that was easier than explaining why I would have said, “No.”
A good friend who worked at the same plant I did also attended the same church. He was an engineering manager – he had a good job. One of the first things I noticed every week as I counted the money was how large an amount he gave as his weekly offering.
No one was preaching about money to me at the time. No one even knew what I gave – since I did the counting, no one had to know. I remember a particular Sunday I was adding up the weekly offering when I came to my friend’s check yet again. As I looked at it this time a question entered my mind: “Which one of us really loves the Lord?” It was an overwhelming thought. No one in that church but me knew how much my friend gave. He wasn’t proving anything to anyone or getting any material benefit from his generosity. He was just being obedient with his money. He was simply investing his money in his local church because of his faith. In that moment, God began to change my heart toward money. He’s grown it a lot since, but that is when he first gave me a genuine desire to be generous with him.
We couldn’t change our giving all at once. We really couldn’t do much more than we were doing at the time. But I made a commitment that day to be consistent and continually increasing in my generosity with God. Over the years, we took the opportunity with every raise or promotion we got to increase the proportion of our income we gave to God. That started over thirty years ago and we haven’t stopped. I remember celebrating in my heart when we actually reached the place where we were giving 10% of our income to God – it took us a few years to get there. But the whole journey was and is a satisfying and faith strengthening part of our lives. We didn’t stop at 10%. We have over the years continued to increase our giving well beyond a tithe… that’s just what God has led us to do.
I tell you this part of my story in light of Bold Love to ask you to consider two things:
First, that generosity is influential. God still uses my friend’s influence on me to grow my faith and faithfulness. My friend never knew it – I never said a word about it to him. He may not know how God used his faith to grow my faith until we’re in heaven. I’m sure he’s okay with that. The point is you have no idea how profound an impact you are having when you are just being faithful.
The second thing is to consider giving God more of your money starting now. Do what I did if you have to and just commit to giving a greater percentage each time your income goes up. Twenty or thirty years from now you will have been very financially generous, but every journey requires the commitment of a first step.
Let Bold Love be the thing that God uses to put you on the journey of generosity. Let the example of generosity set by the leaders of CCCC encourage you to join us as we devote the resources needed to share the gospel with the 4B area. There is no time better than now. Start from wherever you are and make a commitment to grow. Someday someone you never met will be very glad you did.
– Greg Poore, Associate Pastor