What Good Can Come From Giving?
I was about eight. I was on a pier fishing for Brim. I caught one! Reeled it in. Took it off the hook, and threw it back. Without me knowing, the hook started to enter my finger. I didn’t like that. I faintly remember crying. Remember I was eight. To be fair, I’d probably still cry if it happened now. I’m trying to pull the fishing line to get the hook out. But every time I pull the hook goes deeper. My dad was right next to me. He reaches down and grabs my arms. He is way stronger and I can’t move. Remember I was eight. He already had old man strength. To be fair, he could probably still over power me. He said, “Stop pulling.” I *kept* pulling. Remember, I was eight and scared. And he’d say again, “stop pulling.” I kept trying to pull. But, I couldn’t move my arms, because of dad. I couldn’t drive the hook deeper, because of dad. I was saved from a trip to the hospital , because of dad.
In my mind, it made sense to pull that hook out by the fishing line. But dad knew better and knew that was making it worse. I should have just taken dad on faith. But I didn’t. Now thankfully he intervened before I could really hurt myself.
We would be better off if we stopped trusting ourselves so much and started trusting God at his word more.
When it comes to God, I recommend people doing life God’s way even when it doesn’t make sense. For instance, I may not want to forgive someone. Maybe I enjoy the grudge. Maybe I really don’t think I have what it takes to truly forgive the person. But God has told me to forgive them, and I realize how much I’ve been forgiven; so, I’m going to go for it and forgive them - even when it doesn’t make sense to in my mind. Why? Because I’m trusting God at his word and I trust his wisdom over mine because of his track record versus my track record.
Doing it God’s way when it doesn’t make sense to me has always served me well.
When I shared a recent message on giving God our first and our best I focused on being obedient and trusting God (watch that message here).
However, I want to circle back and share some of the behind-the-scenes of what happens when you are obedient and give. Don’t get me wrong, please give out of obedience; not simply because it makes sense. As we will see, it makes a ton of sense to give God our first and our best. But I still believe trust and obedience should be our primary driver to give. With that said, for anyone interested in a pastor’s perspective on what happens after someone gives.
Here are a few things that are happening when you give God your first and your best to Essential Church (or wherever you attend/give).
Giving fuels Gospel ministry we are able to do at Essential. This ministry includes:
We are able to hire pastors and other staff. For us, this equals approximately 200 hours E-V-E-R-Y single week given to ministering to those at Essential, reaching those outside Essential, planning and preparing for ministry, equipping the saints (people like you!), prepping for ministry events, developing sermons, preparing songs, and preparing curriculum.
300+ people being served, helped, discipled, or in some way encouraged every week during our two worship services.
60+ children are being ministered to on Sunday mornings and the Wednesday evening kid programming. When we give it provides resources for this.
Events and resources to reach people who thought church, or God, was not for them.
Helping to end homelessness and other amazing causes! This includes helping to end homelessness, and helping reach college campuses through CRU. We are also able to help support other Strategic Partners that help people. *Note: one of my favorite things we do is the “$5 donation” for people who come on certain days to help one of our partners. From several folks who agreed to double our $5, we were able to raise over $20,000 to help end homelessness this past Easter.
Provide a launching point for ministry in the heart of Huntsville. We are able to maintain the facility for our services, groups, offices, and other events. This one may not excite many people. But having been a mobile or semi-permanent local church for our first few years, the advantages of having a physical location we can use 24/7 to launch our ministries from has been a huge blessing.
Provide opportunities for improvement. Our giving allows us to provide training and appreciation to staff, leaders, and Difference Makers (our volunteers) at Essential. I think things are going well, but we want to keep getting better. When we give, we’re able to afford books and other resources to help us keep improving.
Create a generosity culture. We’re able to provide a number of things for free at Essential because of the generosity of our people. For example, our coffee, tea, first time guest gifts, benevolence, on occasion other items such as shirts, or resources to help people follow God. This sends a clear message to people who come to Essential that we not only want to be generous as people, but we want to model a generous culture.
I could keep going. But here’s what I want to ask you to meditate on for a second. Imagine you’re very old and your reflecting back on your life. Think back to all the things you spent money on. Cars, homes, vacations, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Red Lobster lunch specials, etc. How will results from trivial expenses compare to results from giving God your first and your best?
To me, the real value is clear. Let’s give God our first and our best and seek to be as generous as possible with what’s leftover.
Finally, there are many great logical reasons to give. But I still stand by the most important motivation to give is obedience, faith, worship, and trust.