June 10, 2015
I’m reading a book called Revolution in Generosity: Transforming Stewards to be Rich Toward God. And I have to tell you… It is causing me to evaluate almost everything we are doing in Development at VCJH.
The book’s basic premise – directed at those in positions like mine – is this:
A revolution will come when organizations focus on facilitating God’s work of transforming individuals from self-centered to God-centered, from being materialistic to being generous. This is the supernatural work of God’s grace, and money-raising efforts should conform to the godly approach of raising up stewards to be rich toward God.
The book has been pointing me to stories throughout the Bible that speak to generosity. A widow giving two small copper coins and Jesus saying, “This poor widow has put in more than all of them, for she put in all she had to live on.” The rich young ruler being told to give everything he has to gain treasure in heaven, but he “went away sad, because he had great wealth.” Zacchaeus’ spiritual transformation, as he gave away more than half of his stuff to those in need. In each case, Scripture points out that it is not about the gift, but about the heart of the giver.
I’m realizing very quickly – or, perhaps, being reassured – that I am guilty of believing that everything God has entrusted to me is actually mine. My wife and I are guilty of giving God a percentage, thinking that the rest is ours, with no accountability to the One Who gave it all to us. But as John Piper offered in one of his sermons, “The question is not ‘How much should I give?’ but rather ‘How much of God’s trust fund do I dare keep for myself?’”
I don’t tell you these things to elicit guilt or to simply make you aware of my sin. I don’t even tell you these things so that you’ll write a check today to Valley Christian. Instead, I tell you this to offer encouragement about the life that God has called us to, with the goal of helping each of us to grow more like Christ, myself included, through generosity. “Sanctification and stewardship go hand in hand” (Revolution P. 59). My motivation is this:
When fundraisers for Christian organizations talk about why people should contribute financial support, they have the opportunity to explain that these works are concrete manifestations of the values and vision of their faith (Revolution P. 42)… Exemplary organizations allow space and time for God’s work in individual hearts. In this way, they help donors find great joy and satisfaction in their giving (P. 85).
My request to you, then, is this: in our journey to be more like Christ, let us be generous as He is generous. Whether you are giving to Valley Christian Junior High or to somewhere else… please give. Of your time, of your talents, of your treasure, of anything and everything you’ve been given. Both now and in the future. “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves… with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33-34)
The back of this letter explains a little about what God is doing at Valley Christian, and explains some of the ways you can give to VCJH. If you hear God’s call to give to this school, please do. My guess is that He is calling you to give somewhere, whether financially or otherwise. My encouragement, to both of us, is to listen.
For His glory,
Troy A. Thelen
Legacy Director, Valley Christian Junior High