Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
1 Peter 4:10
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
I’ll never forget the day I walked to the mailboxes in our apartment in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and found a plain envelope with no return address. Inside were three one-hundred-dollar bills. It was 1976, and we had recently moved from Springfield, Illinois where I had finished my first year to seminary training. Our financial situation was very bleak. We had some medical bills, Diane had gone without a job for a couple of weeks (though she had recently found work), and we didn’t know how we would pay for school. I had even thought of quitting school and taking a year off to earn some money. That $300 was like a message from God: I will take care of you. Later that week we learned that someone had given us enough money to pay tuition and buy books.
I recall looking forward to the time when we would be able to give: God had provided for us so abundantly. We would one day be able to give to help others along the way. When I finished seminary, and we moved to our first church, we determined that we would give the first 10% to the Lord at the church we were serving. It has been a practice since then. I like to say that we may have, on occasion, run short of funds. But it’s never because we gave too much to God; it was because we went once too many times to K-Mart, or Jauch Pennee, or McDonalds.
Since that time, God has put us in places of incredible abundance. We have material blessings beyond our expectations. With that comes a strong sense and desire to give back. We are convinced that God’s blessings do not come merely for our benefit. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Our great desire in giving is really two-fold. We want to be faithful, honoring God as the giver of every good and perfect gift. We also want to express God’s love to others through our giving. We believe that all we have is a gift from God. He has blessed us richly. It is our great desire to honor him and bless others with the blessings we have received from him.