Thursday, September 17, 2009

Summer Giving Challenge

At the beginning of the summer God drew my attention to how much He has blessed me financially. As far as things in America go, I am not rich. However, in comparison with the rest of the world I am incredibly wealthy.

So I asked Tim to start a money adventure with me. In June, we decided to would take our weekly allotments out of the bank each week, but use as little money as possible. At the end of each week for a month, we planned to set aside the saved money. The saved money would then be given to missions in some way or another.

During our giving challenge, our eyes were opened to God's great blessings in our lives and the excesses to which we had become accustom. We drove less, tried to use less electricity, played cards instead of going to the movies, ate picnics instead of going out to dinner. Rather than buying new clothes or accesories, I became more creative with the things I own. If we did go out to dinner, we just got water and inexpensive items on the menu. Tim and I traded off brining lunches and dinners to work, but most exciting were the times God would make dinner! Numerous times we'd show up to church and be told so-n-so was making lunch for the staff or my dad would take us out to dinner or left overs from a leadership meal or church function were fantastic reheated. We didn't starve ourselves or walk everywhere, we just learned to live on less, a lesson that has continue to have it's benefits after our money adventure ended.

I anticipated saving $20-$25 each a week, but after our month finished and we counted up our money we realized that in just one month we had saved $360! I was shocked and so grateful for God's wonderful blessings in my life that allowed me to give!

Shortly after we finished our "money fast", Tim and I had the pleasure of hearing Charlie Chivers' vision for the future of Special Touch, a ministry to people with disabilities. I was moved to give to that great ministry. I talked with Tim and when I suggested our saved money for missions could go to Special Touch, he was hesitant. When we began our saving we had mentioned giving the money to some missionary friends and Tim had been thinking of them the entire time and thought our money needed to go to them. Then Tim tentatively said words I will never forget, "We could do it again."

The moment he said it, I'm just going to be honest, I was not excited. But I knew it was the right thing to do and he did too. The next day we sent out the money to our missionary friends with great joy and began our saving adventure part 2 for Special Touch. And again, we saw God's great blessing and provision in our lives. It was remarkable. The second time through, I expected we might be able to save $300. At the end of our month, we totalled our savings and the Lord had enabled us to save $390 to give to Special Touch.

I was amazed and in awe of our great God. During the second month of our money adventure I found this verse in a prayer given by King David.

"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." 2 Chronicles 29:14

I cried and praised God when I read this verse because it was and is exactly what the Lord taught me during my great sumer giving challenge and what is in my heart. I am amazed by how much he has blessed me that I am able to generously give. God can do incredible things when we surrender our lives to Him, including our finances.

"But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." What a great adventure.

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