Tony Campolo is a best-selling Christian author, pastor, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, and former spiritual advisor to President Bill Clinton. While I don’t agree with everything he stands for, in this true story he shares an important lesson about graceful giving.
Tony Campolo writes of being invited to speak at a ladies meeting attended by 300 women. Before he spoke, the president of the organization read a letter from a missionary, a very moving letter. In the letter the missionary expressed a need for $4,000 to take care of an emergency that had cropped up. So the president of the organization announced, “We need to pray that God will provide the resources to meet the need of this missionary. Bro. Campolo, will you please pray for us?”
Tony Campolo, who is very outspoken, said, “No.”
Startled, the woman said, “I beg your pardon.”
Campolo said, “No, I won’t pray for that.” He continued, “I believe that God has already provided the resources and that all we need to do is give. Tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to step up to this table and give every bit of cash I have in my pocket. And if all of you will do the same thing, I think God has already provided the resources.”
The president of the organization chuckled a little bit and said, “Well, I guess we get the point. He is trying to teach us that we all need to give sacrificially.”
Campolo replied, “No, that is not what I am trying to teach you. I’m trying to teach you that God has already provided for this missionary. All we need to do is give it. Here, I’m going to put down all of my money I have with me.” So he put down his $15 and then looked at the president of the organization. Reluctantly, she opened her purse and took out all of her money, which was about $40, and put it on the table. One by one the rest of the ladies filed by and put their money on the table also. When the money was counted they had collected more than $4,000.”
Tony Campolo explained, “Now, here’s the lesson. God always supplies for our needs, and He supplied for this missionary, too. The only problem was we were keeping it for ourselves. Now let’s pray and thank God for His provision.”
We are tempted to think, as these ladies did, that we are giving our own money. But the Bible teaches us that we are to be stewards of what the Lord entrusts to us and that everything we have belongs to the Lord. Embracing these truths will radically change our philosophy about finances and giving. What we give is His to begin with, plus when more is needed, He will provide it.
Such an understanding frees us from stress and striving: Striving because all of the provision does not rely on our own efforts, and Stress because we don’t have to worry about where the finances are going to come from. That does not mean we can be lazy or careless with our finances. We need to do what we can; ie, get a job and work hard. The Bible gives no room for laziness; read through the book of Proverbs. Plus the Apostle Paul gives a stern command in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” The good news is that, if I am faithful to do what I can do, the Holy Spirit will be faithful to do what I cannot do! Let’s be good stewards for the Lord.
This Sunday, April 16, we will conclude our teaching series – Money Matters! – with the wonderful principle of “Graceful Giving” from 2 Corinthians 8:1-7. We will consider the two questions: “Why should I give?” and “What should I give?” Please invite someone to join you at 10:35am either in the building or online for the Live broadcast on Facebook (Honolulu AG) or our YouTube channel (Honolulu Assembly of God). We Livestream every Sunday morning at 10:35am to both locations. (For those in the area, the 9:30am Adult Bible Class will continue its study of the Book of Romans.)
Coming Up: Ps Ron Peer will speak on April 23 and 30. Don’t miss it!
Note: Shirley and I will be gone to the Main-land for the next few weeks for her mother’s funeral. These weekly letters will resume when we return in early May.
Aloha ke Akua!