Building My Life Around Generosity.

Money $100

Charles Brammall gives four case studies of authentic Christian life.

1 Thess 4:11-14 is, I believe, the only mention of ambition in God’s Words:

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

But it’s okay for a Christian to be ambitious for promotion, a raise, or a better-paying job, right? I’m not sure about that.

Case Study One

A friend of mine was a minister at a large church in Sydney, and they needed a million dollars for a Gospel ministry project. He announced this in church one day and asked if anyone would like to contribute. After the service, a very successful lady (who travelled overseas a lot for work) came over and handed him a cheque she had just written out for a million dollars. Remarkable generosity, surely?!

Maybe not. My friend thanked her gratefully but went one step further. He said, in what I think was an appropriate (and pastorally courageous) decision,

Im very grateful for your generosity, but what I think what would really be generous for you is if you could cut down on your overseas travel so you could be here for church and your family more often. They and we need you, and it’s so encouraging to have you around.”

Wow. It reminded me of the story of the widow’s mite in Lk 21:1-4:

“And (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”.

The lady I know may have given a relatively large amount, but in the end, was it actually sacrificial? Was she willing to sacrifice for the LORD what she held most dear—her career? I don’t know how she responded. In my experience, this kind of challenge from one Christian to another is rare and brave. I’m fearful of doing it.

Case Study Two

Another friend of mine was starting up a new niche ministry for politicians and bureaucrats in Canberra, and he needed to raise a large part of his support. I was able to give him a hand approaching people as I am still in relationship with many people who gave to our mission to the Entertainment Industry in Sydney over many years. I began making phone calls and passed on to my friend the details of anyone who said they would consider giving. The first fellow he called immediately transferred $10,000 into the ministrys account.

God is kind.

Case Study Three

If you can, try to be a networker and develop an extensive network of friends and contacts for the sake of the Gospel. This is in case you ever become aware of a need for financial support for a ministry.

Former Dean of Sydney Phillip Jensen once said to us when we were being trained by him, Never ever throw away a contact”. I have adopted this principle, which has borne much fruit for the Gospel. Be a people person.

Case Study Four

Sydney evangelist John Chapman had his own giving policy by which he operated. If he ever bought something nice for himself (a magazine, book, nice meal out, record, etc), he would give exactly the same amount to mission. He didnt do this with necessities he had to buy (food, rent, clothes, etc), but just for the things he treated himself – a wise and generous man.

As believers, we have the blessing and privilege of giving all parts of our lives sacrificially, generously, anonymously, and in a planned way, as our Lord did with all of His life.