God loves a cheerful giver.
[2 Corinthians 9:7]
People have asked me, “Has there been any event in your life that shaped your attitude about giving money to God’s work?” The answer is yes. Two events made a profound impact on me, and both occurred when I was in high school.
My first job was working for a Christian bookstore, making the minimum wage. I worked every shift I could, and finally I accumulated $700. I was so proud of it. At the same time, I was volunteering for a little church. One night the pastor said, “God has given me a vision to start a bus ministry. There are hundreds of children around here we could bus in to hear the gospel. But we don’t have any money to purchase buses. So let’s pray about it and collect an offering.” God told me to write a check for the entire $700. I admit, I struggled with that. I thought about everything I had done to earn that $700. But I decided I didn’t want to get into the habit of ignoring God’s voice, so I wrote the check for $700. The church got the buses. Over the next few years many children came to faith in Christ. An interesting side note was after I’d written that check, God provided extra jobs for me. I played the accordion for money, and suddenly I got many job offers for events where I could make in one night a week’s worth of wages from the bookstore. Within a couple of months, my bank account exceeded that $700.
Shortly after that, God started working in my heart again. This time He gave me a burden for the lost people in my community. So I thought, “I’ll get a Billy Graham film and rent a local auditorium, and we’ll invite unbelievers to see the film, and maybe some of them will come to faith in Christ.” So I wrote a check and rented our high school auditorium. Then I found somebody to run the movie and wrote a check. I found somebody to run the lights and wrote a check. All I needed was the movie. I went to the Billy Graham headquarters, and they gave me a movie called “Two a Penny.” On the night of the movie I walked into the auditorium, and it was about half-filled. The lights came down; the movie started. The plot was cheesy, the sound was terrible, and the actors spoke with accents so thick you couldn’t understand them. Then the film broke down. We sat there in the dark for about 15 minutes while they tried to repair the film. When the film started back up again, I thought, “This is a disaster.” Finally, the movie was mercifully over, and I gave a gospel presentation. Amazingly, despite all that, five people gave their lives to Jesus Christ. I will never forget driving home absolutely elated. I didn’t care about the half-filled auditorium. I didn’t care about the broken-down film or my now-empty bank account. I was elated that God had used my feeble efforts to bring people into His kingdom.
I learned two lessons from those experiences that I’ve never forgotten. First, I learned you can’t outgive God. Second, I learned that if you’re a Christian, there is no greater joy than using your time and investing your resources in making sure people are going to be in heaven.
~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~