In today’s episode I tell a story of my wife and I learning to be trust God even when he calls us to uncomfortable levels of generosity.
Today I have a very straightforward question for you: Are you trusting God to provide for you even when he calls you to uncomfortable levels of generosity?
Hello and welcome to the Cheerful Money Podcast. My name is Guy Smith.
I’m excited to welcome you to the show that is dedicated to helping you create financial margin to give more generously and live more freely. You have joined me and stepped in here for episode number 11. So welcome welcome welcome. As I said at the onset I have a question for you. And that question is a simple are you trusting God to provide for you even when he calls you to uncomfortable levels of generosity.
Now that’s an interesting question that I want to approach today just briefly but then also share with you a story from my life that you may see as uncomfortable you may see it as minor. But I want to share that with you and just kind of show you an experience of that I had where God called me to my wife and I to be generous.
In a way that wasn’t really in our plan. It wasn’t really something that we wanted to do or we’re expecting to do but it seemed evident that God was calling us to do it. So have you ever considered that question? Have you ever considered that as we share some stories of generosity as we learn that God has amazing things for us and some of those amazing blessings that he gives to us are hinged on our willingness to lead with our heart to give with our heart to trust him with our finances. So as we look at this today one of the things that’s interesting to me is that we often in our desire to love ourselves and our inclination our nature of loving ourselves first. We sometimes forget what Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
You can read that in Acts 20:35 because we have in us you know you know the greatest commandment to love God and to love others to love others as you love yourself. That in and of itself is the Bible telling us we need to love others because you have inside of you this desire this innate piece of you this built in selfishness that you may not even realize that you have but it’s a selfishness in the way that you take care of yourself in the way that you seek your own comfort in the way that you seek your own needs. So for the Bible for God to call us to love others as we love ourselves it’s his way of saying Hey you love yourself because you feed yourself. You love yourself because you clothe yourself. You give yourself nice things you give yourself shelter.
You think about me Mister number one you think about number one more than you think about other people. And that’s fine. That’s natural. We all do that. And we approach our money in the same way where we we NO we forget that God is calling us to use this finite resource that we have to love others and bless others and call us to levels of generosity. And and we may know cognitively I may be able to think about the truth and the fact that yeah well Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than it is to receive. But yeah you know I do my piece right? I mean I I do you know I give my 5% to my church my 6% 1% you know my $30 every time that I show up for a service or maybe even better yet than that say I give a full 10% I give a full tithe to my church.
But what if let me ask you this. So what if God was calling you to hire more uncomfortable levels of generosity? Would you be willing? Are you willing to take those steps? And what what blessings are you missing out on by not trusting your father to give you good gifts and not trusting beyond what we can reach and touch and control and grip in our hands. Because it is so true. It is more fun to give than it is to do anything else with your finances. So I want to today I want to share you a story from an experience that my wife and I had in regards to this. And I don’t share this story flippantly. I don’t share it braggadociously or boastfully or anything like that. I just I just want to share it because I want to encourage you to to be generous when God calls you to be generous because you know you can argue ’till you’re blue in the face about tithing and you know there are strong arguments on both sides of visit for the New Testament.
Is it just an old testament thing? And we could we could go through various scriptures and maybe someday we will do that on this show. For the time being let’s simply assume that the comfortable level of giving the baseline level of giving is that God asks us to give 10% and live on 90%. So 10% to go to our local church and to live on 90%.
So when I say let’s just establish that on the onset here whenever I say that God calling you to uncomfortable or radical levels of giving I’m talking about the offering. Your church probably says tithes and offerings. I’m talking about the above and beyond. The offering is the above and beyond. The offering is God saying hey thank you for giving to me what I’ve asked you to give to me faithfully. Now are you willing to do more?
Are you willing to give a little bit more in a way that maybe it’ll hurt but yet maybe maybe the blessing like the widow’s mite maybe the blessing is on the other side of the gift as God looks into our hearts. Just a question for you. Maybe the blessing is on the other side and mind you that blessing is not guaranteed to be financial. It may be it may be peace it may be growth. It may be the blessing of seeing a miracle. It could be many things but don’t expect it to be financial. It may be financial. Praise the Lord right? But don’t expect that because it’s far more important for you to step into eternity and growing in your likeness and growing in the depth of your faith and as you walk with Christ than it is for you to go into eternity having amassed more wealth than your neighbors.
That’s another snare that we so often fall into. So let me share this story with you. Here’s what was happening a year or so ago at my church. We have a couple that leads a ministry to a third world country a country in Latin America called Guatemala. And my wife and I have never been to Guatemala but we love missions and we’ve both been to multiple on multiple trips to countries in Latin America. My wife has been to Costa Rica. We both been to Honduras a few times. Um and I’ve been to Mexico. We enjoy those trips. We’ve been to Haiti we love serving on the mission field but ever since getting married we haven’t been able to go on an international mission trips. it just hasn’t been in the cards.
Part of that is financial part of that is career commitment. Part of that is the fact that my wife keeps having babies. It’s not real good time you know to for her to travel pregnant. But it’s also not a good time for us. You know I just don’t want to leave my kids. I mean I would just be honest. Got you know I have I at the moment has as I’m recording this I have a three year old a one year old and an infant in the house upstairs right now. And there hopefully all sleeping as my wife was finishing putting our infant down for the night. And I um I just my point is I don’t want to leave them. I could if God would call me to go and do something like that I could I would I hope that I would. I like to say that I would but you know I think there’s something to be said that it’s important to spend this time with our kids and with our family.
So because of that it’s been it’s been a handful of years since we’ve been able to go on trips but we still love it and we still believe in it. So this couple that leads these mission trips to Guatemala um last summer they they always are looking for donations of course. And they have ground right around 45 people every summer that go with them. And sometimes those people are having trouble raising money for trips. And so my wife and I but but you know they want to follow God where where he’s calling them. Um so my wife and I the the one day we were just kind of talking and we had been in the process of making the decision of whether or not we would be going on a family vacation to the beach. Totally Fun just a fun vacation nothing missional about it.
And it was gonna cost us I think it was gonna cost us at least a grand if not perfectly $1,200 or so to go on the strip. And the trip was a roughly eight months away. So my wife and I were discussing this and we looked at our vacation category and our why not budget. And we noticed that we had it would right around $400 in there. And so we looked at this and we’re like okay we want to go on this trip we want to go on vacation. Are we able to get the rest of the money saved up and time to go on this trip? And then my wife and I we began to talk a little bit about that $400 because one of the things that’s beautiful and awesome and an incredible blessing about being married to my wife is that she wants she loves Jesus too.
She loves the missions. And three she loves the church and for Hey you got to throw that in that she loves me right? Like how Woo. Yeah. So she has an she and she’s a simple content kind of in in the stuff’s sense. Like she just kinda happy. Like she doesn’t need a lot to be impressed or to be to be pleased. She wants quality times. He doesn’t want stuff. Um so she has a heart for the missions. So as we’re looking at these funds we we started talking about you know whether or not that $400 should be used for vacation or if we should funnel that over to our generosity category and give it to someone in need or someone in going on a mission trip. So we began to talk about it and kind of debate about it cause we’re down to the deadline.
Like my my sister in law needed to know are you going on this trip or he had not gone on this trip because we’re going to put a deposit down. We got to know that this is happening. So on this particular day we walked around in the living room we talked we prayed we talked we prayed we talked we talked we talked we talked. And he would get like that. It was like you talk talk talk talk about that. Oh yeah let’s pray. Talk to her. Like oh yeah that’s perfect. So we do all of these things and and every time one of us would say you know what that’s just do the vacation thing. The people that need money in that ministry you know they’re they’re going to be fine but it never felt quite right. And then and then we would say you know what?
Let’s just tell your family that we’re not going on this trip and they’re going to be fine. Like it’ll be fun to go with them but there’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. We don’t have to have a vacation. Let’s just let’s just give that $400 to the mission and move on. And you know that didn’t really feel right either because we had conversations like well you know what the mission matters like we we absolutely are all about this. But you know what? God also calls us to love our families and be with our families and take care of our families. And and you never know year to year day to day of whether or not you’re going to have another opportunity for your entire family to go on a trip together. And that’s important to my wife to get to see her father playing with our kids on the beach and the way that he loves them and interacts with them so much.
She wants that. And she doesn’t want our kids to miss that. She doesn’t want her dad to miss that. So there’s also that like doing it what God’s word calls us to piece in that as well. So as we’re going back and forth on this I finally just looked at my wife and I and and I said how about this? How about today? You tell your sister we’re going on vacation. And then I will go take that $400 and I’ll donate it to the mission and we’ll start at zero. And we’ll trust God as we’re generous as he calls us as we’re doing this with discernment with discipline with wisdom that he’s going to take care of us as well. So I did it. We did it. We made the decision and as soon as I saw that look in her eyes when I said that I knew I was like when for the husband like yeah I did it.
I finally I finally cracked the code. I know what my wife wants. So she did that. She told her sister we were going to come. And that evening on my way to our Saturday night church service I got my car and I drove straight to the bank and I got out that money. And I want to tell you when you talk about the joy of giving the cheerfulness of giving of giving being the most fun that you’ve ever had that you can ever do with money. You know I have gone to the bank gone to the ATM a lot of times and gotten out the significant amount of money to do you know neat things like you know go on a vacation or buy a piece of furniture or put a down payment on something or buy a car. Like I’ve like you know it’s really fun.
One of the you know it’s really fun to write a check and pay cash for your cars. I love it. I highly recommend you try that or set that as a goal for yourself. And that’s exciting. But you know what? I have never in any of those instances been as excited as I was going to get that cash out to donate it to give it to a person in need. Because when I talked to this lady who was leading these mission trips I said is there anybody that needs a little bit of money? And she mentioned she’s like you know what? There’s this one guy he’s wanting to go on our trips for years and he’s never thought that he could come up with the funds but this year he decided to give it a try. So he signed up and he is having trouble coming up with the money and that $400 would help him a lot you know?
So I went and I was so excited. Like my heart is beating him vibe. Like he’s excited. I can’t wait to get this money out. Can’t wait to give her the church can’t wait to put it in an envelope and hand it to this lady anonymous leave. Just just I wasn’t like Hey this is from us. It wasn’t nothing like hey you know hey this is a check from me. It was just it was like Hey you know my wife and I have this $400 that we just want to give to the cause. And I loved it. I was so excited. It was such an amazing feeling to give rather than receive. And that was a gift that my wife and I were confident that God was calling us to give. That it was we were confident that he was calling us to step out and to do something that was a little bit uncomfortable.
I mean you know I know you know $400 is not you know it’s if you’re making them like an average American income it’s not a bunch of money. You know to some people there’s a bunch of money. But if you’re making if you’re if you’re doing a decent in America you you know $400 isn’t going to break most of our banks. I I admit that in a $400 for my wife and I it’s a lot of money but it’s not like sweat am I going to pay the mortgage kind of money? You know? But it was still above and beyond the tide. It was still something that God was calling us to do that put us in an uncomfortable position where we had to decide are we going to trust God to still take care of us to still give us good gifts to still help us to enjoy our life love our kids?
Because that’s what they were always thinking. Like when I give I give I give I’m going give you know the Bible is very clear. We’re not supposed to give ourselves into poverty but we are supposed to give generously and we are to give to a point where we’re a little bit uncomfortable because if you only give within this realm of trusting God of like well you know I I trust God but you know I trust him but I’m only going to trust him far enough that I know I can still write a check and get myself out of this situation. You know you God calls us to take risk for his work for his kingdom. So we did that. We you know again I you know I’m not bragging I’m not saying things is I’m not saying this is amazing. This is like what I’m trying to put across here is that it is much better too and it is truly better to give and his trust.
God. So are you trusting God with your finances or are you holding onto them so tightly that if God says give you’re going to say Eh I dunno man I’ll give but I’m going to admit I’m still gonna put like I’m still gonna stack benjamin’s like inside my walls just in case. I mean you need an emergency fund that was be smart but but God is ultimately the one that we’re trusted here. So let me tell you how that kind of went down in conclusions because the kind of kind of some questions to answers to go along with this and we had to make these decisions. So on this particular day when my wife and I spent these hours praying and talking this through we finally made that decision and the joy flowed out of me so strong and so passionate that I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is what God was calling us to do.
And that generosity feeling it stays forever. I love him. So excited to know that that that that $400 is multiplying in someone else’s story so that I can be a part of a so I can tell this story of generosity and know that God used that as a tool to love someone else to take care of someone else so that we can bless others with our generosity. So then God gives us a blessing in return. So but blessing is so much more than money. Don’t think about it in terms of money. I didn’t expect to get that $400 back immediately. But let me tell you something amazing that happened. Let me this is amazing what happened. I can tell you that was Saturday night. The very next morning nobody nobody nobody not a single soul on the planet except my wife and I not even the lady I handed that money to knew that we had given that we had personally given $400 towards that mission. And the very next morning I walked into the Church and God prompted somebody to hand us a little bit of cash and they just said to me now it was now it wasn’t the full amount. It was actually half of the amount half of the amount. So the $200 half of the amount out of nowhere.
Yeah, a moment that brought me to a smile and it brought me to tears and trusting God and I could not wait to tell my wife statistic it happened but the man he just simply said hey God told me to give you this. I mean you can’t. You want to talk about divine. You want to talk about miracle. You want to talk about God moving in a way.
Oh you want to talk about God showing himself. You want to talk about God saying Hey thanks for trusting me. I want to show you that I appreciate that you trust me and it means so much to my wife and I to know that God trusts us with what he blesses us with and he trusts you with what he blesses you with and calls you to do more. And the more you do the more that you show God that you are going to use his blessings to bless others the more he’s going to open up opportunities for you to bless others. It’s pretty awesome. Pretty awesome. So the other thing was that you know we got to go on vacation. It was not even a financial burden. God created margin for us. We were disciplined and we were faithful and we trusted him as we surrender our finances to him.
And we were able to go on this vacation and my wife was going to my wife got to spend time with her dad and our kids at the beach at the same time. And her mom and her sister just had a good time celebrating and resting and being with family. And I don’t know I don’t know. I don’t I don’t want to put I don’t want to put words in God’s mouth but there is that piece of me that wonders has if we would have just said yes to vacation that day and said no to God said no to the generosity as a part of me that wonders if that vacation would have been a lot more difficult financially. I can’t say it. I don’t know it. I didn’t live it. But my point is God blesses us whenever we are a giver when we are generous. So that’s how we were cheerfully enjoying our money.
The other thing you know what? My inexpressible heart full of joy remains to this day because I love knowing that in that instant I got to help with the work of the Kingdom of God. Isn’t it amazing what God can do? So I leave you with the question that I started with. I hope you enjoy that story. I hope you don’t think that I’m boasting. I hope you don’t. I hope you don’t mind me sharing numbers. cause I know sometimes that can get a little bit unnecessary. It also can be a little bit unrelatable depending on where you’re listening to this from. But if I could ask you to do anything it can just be you know take the numbers out of your head. Don’t even focus on the story. Don’t focus on me being in the story. I you know I hope to tell it tells them.
I would love to tell some listener stories. If one of you guys wants to wants to reach out to me through through the website you can just hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you share a story of generosity. Maybe someday we can even jump on the phone and we can talk about it together and record it and pop it on a podcast or something like that. If you have a story that I think is going to be valuable for the whole listenership that would be wonderful. But you know the most important thing that I want you to take from this is I want you to ask yourself ask yourself are you trusting God to provide even when he calls you to uncomfortable levels of generosity? Are you willing to go to uncomfortable levels of generosity? Are you willing to reevaluate today and every year?
It’s a good practice every year to reevaluate your level of giving. Because as a as a follower of Christ I believe that whether you want to argue in New Testament Old Testament that 10% is the baseline of what we’re called to give. And that’s 10% on the gross that we’re called to give to our local house of worship. You know a lot of people say well that’s just for the Old Testament. But the truth is when I read scripture I see that that is for the Old Testament. But the new testament actually ups the ante it call it. We’re called to wild levels of generosity. And and not not just forgiving forgiving sake but because God wants us God wants us to have be able to tell stories like that. God once our hearts to change as we love others with what he’s blessed us with. So are you trusting God?
Are you willing to go to uncomfortable levels of generosity? Not not not not stupid levels of generosity not give yourself into poverty levels of generosity. Just uncomfortable. Just saying Yes to God when you feel him tugging on your heartstrings to give to someone in need to give to someone out doing his work. Are you willing? Because I hope you are. Because if you want to live Cheerful money if you want to create financial margins you can give more generously and live more freely.
The happiest most joyful most free people on this planet are the most generous people on this planet and I hope and pray that you and I are among them for the rest of our lives. So thank you for tuning into today’s show. I greatly appreciate the time that you willing to spend with me.
Again if you want to shoot me an email I would love to hear from you. If you want to hit subscribe or if you want to leave a note of some kind I would love to hear from you there. So this is a Guy Smith of Cheerful Money Podcast CheerfulMoney.com Signing off saying thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful wonderful rest of your day.