Church of the Resurrection


Ministry: Giving

A Testimony of Freedom

October 12, 2016

We are in the midst of a two-year generosity initiative called Moved by Jesus. Our primary goal during this initiative is for 100% of our church family to give in a surrendered, gospel-driven way. During these two years, we are sharing stories of transformation that have come out of our church family's commitment to giving generously for the sake of of the kingdom. Below is a story from one of our congregants, who requested to be kept anonymous.

When I was growing up I remember discussions in my home about giving to the church.  Back then, my dad enjoyed giving about as much as paying taxes.  He would cringe when he would discuss how “they” burdened the parishioners with the expectation to give.  He would say things like, “Now they need money for the roof?  That building isn’t even that old!  And I suppose the priest needs more money for his vacation fund.  Didn’t he take a vow of poverty?”  It was clear to me that giving was a duty forced upon members of the church for frivolous ornamentation and comforts and that refusing to give would result in shame and guilt.

Although I grew up in the church, I didn't became a Christian until my early 20s. When I began attending a different church, I heard a much different message.  I read in the Scriptures about the joy and blessing that giving brings to the heart of the believer.  However, this church taught giving a tithe - 10% -  which was more than double the percentage I heard as a child.  There was NO WAY I could ever be willing or able to give 10% of my gross pay to the church.  Early in my journey, some friends of mine lovingly but strongly encouraged me to get to the 10% giving goal.  After some soul searching, I managed to get to that number because I felt it was a matter of obedience.

Over the years, I’ve seen God bless me in many ways - including financially.  I often attribute those blessings to my obedience in the area of giving.  I also saw myself as a steward of God’s money to do good things in the world, and I have been privileged to see people benefit by my generosity.  It has felt good to give.  However, I had always given out of my abundance.  I could never understand the people who felt the need to give sacrificially and really make it hurt.  I would say to myself, “Well, it’s time for other people to step up and do their part.  I’m giving enough.”

 When the Moved by Jesus initiative began in 2015, I was approached by the Generosity Pastor, Dan Easley, who wanted to meet with me to discuss the Church’s planned renovations and projects.  In our first meeting, Dan challenged me to give in a way that changes me.  It didn't have anything to do with 10%. During that meeting, I thought about a message Bishop Stewart delivers from the pulpit, “Give in a worldly irresponsible way for the Kingdom.”  After that first meeting, I still wasn’t planning on giving more extravagantly than I had in the past.  After all, I had my heart set on buying something I’ve wanted since childhood that was very meaningful for me.  I also intended to increase my IRA contributions in the hope of retiring early.  

Then, I heard a sermon by Katherine Ruch one evening that further changed my thinking.  What I heard the Lord say through her was, “Giving is not about a project.  It has nothing to do with what the money is going toward.  Giving is about FREEDOM – freedom from all the worry and anxiety that money causes us.”  One year ago, on the day before the church was set to hand in our Commitment Cards for Moved by Jesus, I was praying in All Saints Chapel and heard the Lord tell me, “Everything you have is a gift from me.  Don’t worry about that thing you have your heart set on or about retiring early.  Just get out of the boat and give it all.  I will take care of you no matter what.”  I threw up my hands and conceded.  I said, “Well, Lord, here goes nothing!  I pray that you give me that freedom from money and change me more into the man that you want me to be.”

Since committing to give in a sacrificial way, there have been times when I’ve wondered if I did the right thing.  My mind drifts to how great it would have been to make that purchase my heart desired or save that additional money for retirement.  Each time that happens, I open my hands up before God and say “Lord, this is my small sacrifice.  I did it to be free.  Please remove all worry and obsession about money in my life.”  I know that the more that I give, the more I will receive the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

A Testimony to the Lord's Provision

October 04, 2016

We are in the midst of a two-year generosity initiative called Moved by Jesus. Our primary goal during this initiative is for 100% of our church family to give in a surrendered, gospel-driven way. During these two years, we are sharing stories of transformation that have come out of our church family's commitment to giving generously for the sake of of the kingdom. Below is a story from one of our staff members, Meghan Robins.

My husband Robb and I were blessed with parents who taught us how to love to tithe. We view it as a tangible opportunity in our marriage to trust the Lord on a monthly basis, and to remind ourselves where our money comes from in the first place. We've always seen the Lord be generous to us in return, and he has provided through every difficult time we've walked through, including stretches of unemployment, working at minimum wage, and overarching debt.

When Resurrection started the Moved by Jesus campaign, we wanted to give as generously as possible, but looking at our budget was disheartening. We have a great deal of school debt, and being generous with that weighing on us is hard and even confusing- what does it mean to be generous with our finances when we're technically always in the hole? Moreover, we both feel called to ministry and thus don’t anticipate ever having incomes that can compensate for our debt anytime soon.

In the end, it’s that very conundrum that keeps reminding us of how much we need Jesus to intervene in our finances, and pushes us to have the faith to give away from what little we have. Thus for Moved by Jesus, we decided on a quantity that was less than we wished we could give but still enough to make every month feel like an adventure in penny-pinching.

It was all going okay until this summer, when we were suddenly hit by multiple financial crises. Our newly purchased van broke down, and the bill to fix it was astronomical. My husband's job at the time forgot to take out his insurance on a monthly basis, so we got hit with a massive bill, due immediately. A babysitter cashed months worth of checks all at once, emptying our bank account right before we had planned to go on a family vacation and rent was due. And then we got pulled into a confusing legal issue that had the potential to be extremely expensive.

At the peak of all of these things, I made a tearful list in my journal. One side I titled "Prayer," and the other side I titled "The Lord's Provision." On the prayer side, I listed over a dozen pressing financial and emotional battles Robb and I were facing. The other side was blank.

I can tell you today that the "Provision" side of that list is no longer blank. In fact, it is overflowing. The Lord heard our prayer on every single count and provided with an incredible breadth of creative generosity:

Our van was miraculously fixed for free and we were given a complimentary rental for the two weeks it was in the shop. My husband's old employer graciously helped out with part of the insurance bill. Friends and family (including some non-Christians) gave us food from their own refrigerators and gift cards so that we could still go on vacation. Resurrection provided financial aid so that we could pay rent despite our empty bank account.  A fellow believer who is a lawyer helped us with the legal issue and waived his fee because he lives fully  into the Kingdom mindset of generosity.

But even more importantly than all of those incredible answers to prayer was the way the Lord drew close to Robb and I in this season. We went from feeling like we were in a free fall to realizing that we were actually being gently cradled in the Lord’s hands. Being in such great need made space in our hearts to invite the Lord in and to experience his love in a new and deeper way.

Now, months later, we’re continuously tempted to step back into a fear-based relationship with our money, but we keep coming back to this story. Our faith is being built up by the Lord’s goodness to us, and it gives us courage to continue to give.

I know that the Lord is generous to his children whether or not we tithe, but I also know that if we had not been giving in a way that hurt to the Lord, we would not have been able to recognize his provision so clearly. It moves me to tears to contemplate how the Lord has taken our meager offering and in return given us a waterfall of his love and provision.

Robb and I cannot wait to recommit ourselves to the Moved by Jesus campaign in October. It is the least we can do in response to such a generous God.