Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Great Gift

Right now, in front of each of us, is a real opportunity. A great gift. If you think about it, it's pretty incredible. In fact, every time I sit down and mull it over, I'm overwhelmed with the privilege that's been given to me. It really is an incredible gift.

What am I talking about? Wealth. I know you probably don't think you're wealthy. I don't feel wealthy usually. But all you have to do is travel outside of our country to developing what we used to call a "third world" country...and you'll have a new perspective. You and I are rich in comparison to 99% of everyone else in the world. Something like one third of the world's population lives on $1 a day or less. Whatever Congress does or doesn't do, we'll all still be rich. That's the truth.

The gift that you have is the chance - not only to ENJOY what God has given you - but also to GIVE some of that blessing away. When I say give, I don't mean token giving. I mean lavish giving! The kind of giving where you know you were really a part of making a difference.

After years of spending all my money on myself, borrowing all I could and hocking my future, I looked back and saw how greedy and selfish I had been. I didn't trust God. I trusted myself, the bank, the government...pretty much everyone except God. I hadn't been a part of what God was doing. I wasn't really giving. I was pretending to give.

Then I lost almost everything. It was my own fault, but God used the experience to allow me take a hard look in the mirror. You know what? I really didn't like what I saw. I vowed I would never be like that again. Once you lose it all, living on 90% or less of your income is a cakewalk. Seriously. Now, even though we make a modest income, Susan and I give like we're rich! And it's a great gift...not to the church or to the others who receive the gift as much as it is to US! WE GET TO GIVE! That means we have it, God blessed us with it! It's a whole new way of living and thinking. It's freedom. Our money never belonged to us, so giving it away isn't a chore or drudgery, it's FUN! I'm not kidding.

Plus, we still get to use most of it and enjoy what it brings. It's the best of all worlds. And it's NOTHING like the way we used to live. NOTHING!

You can live like this, too. Change your thinking. Re-orient your paradigm. Seriously. I know the misery of living for myself. If you're there, I feel your pain. Get out of it. It only gets worse. It's a house of cards. Start giving. Give more. Give lavishly! And get out of credit card and other consumer debt! It will kill you! Here are four ideas for you:

  1. Read Matthew 25:14-30 and Malachi 3:8-10, What does this parable say to you about what God expects of you regarding the money He put in your care? What does the promise of Malachi 3 assure you will happen if you give like you should give?
  2. If you have not been giving generously, consider making an end of the year gift to PCC. For some ideas you might get excited about, click here. And if you donate online, at church on Sunday 12/30, or postmark it by 12/31 it will count as a charitable donation for the IRS in 2012.
  3. Consider increasing your giving in 2013.
  4. Think about taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in the Winter Small Group Semester. Catalogs will come out in January.
Here's the truth: Giving is as much a gift to the giver as it is to the receiver. Ask someone who gives a lot and they will tell you. I've lived both ways, and I can assure you. There is only one way to live: Give like God owns it all, and He will bless you like you're a trustworthy and faithful servant. That IS the story of my life and many others.


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