What would you do if God asked you to give everything away?
How would you react if God said to you that He wanted you to give away your entire salary this year?
I know it sounds ridiculous, but fair warning…don’t put it past God. In fact, when Jesus called the disciples to come follow Him, the call apparently demanded that they give up their day jobs. And for some people today, God still calls them to give away a huge percentage of their resources.
You may have heard of a guy named Francis Chan. While Francis was a church planter/pastor in California, God prompted him to give away $50,000 in one year. The incredible part of that story is that Chan’s annual salary at the time was around that same amount. Nevertheless, he followed God in faith. And did it. Click here to watch his amazing story.
Long before our church ever heard that story, God placed the same faith test in front of us. The leadership of our church was praying and genuinely asking God, “What can we do over the next year to make sure that the community around us sees You instead of us?”
His answer? Become radically generous, as I am generous.
Eventually, we realized that He wanted us to give away all of our offerings for one year. All of them. 100%.
After we dislodged our hearts from our throats, we came up with a plan. And over the course of one year, we gave away all of the tithes and offerings from the members (and some non-members) of the church.
Don’t get me wrong. We didn’t drive around town throwing money out the window. We didn’t hand out money to everyone who asked of us (even though Jesus once said to do that). But, we intentionally used all of the resources of the church to invest in people who were hurting. We used money as an in-road into the lives of people in our community so that we could walk with them and encourage them Jesus.
Our goal was not to simply give everything away. Our goal was to make disciples.
Generosity has the power to do that. It has the power to open doors that seem locked tight; it has the ability to soften hearts that are calloused; it can open people’s ears to the things that really matter.
Do you remember how Jesus spoke about money? He warned us that money (Mammon) could easily become a master – a god – to us. But, He also indicated that it could be a powerful tool for changing lives (Luke 16:9).
We were able to see that in a unique, powerful way over the course of that year.
If you are interested in making disciples through the practice of generosity…or if you want your church to become more intentionally generous, you can read all about our journey in Giving Away the Collection Plate. (Click the link to go to Amazon’s book page.)
Not only does that book tell our story, it gives several “best practices” for using generosity to make disciples.
But before you read the book, I have one disclaimer. Fair warning…God still calls people to be radically generous today. And as you strive to be a Jesus follower, He may even ask you to imitate His remarkably generous ways. Don’t put it past Him.
For an additional, free resource on this subject, download the ePaper, “Why you Cannot Make Disciples apart from Generosity” (a GenerousChurch ePaper).