Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's just like a magic penny....

Posted by Jennifer at 1:13 PM
Does anyone remember that song? The Magic Penny? It goes:
Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.

It's just like a magic penny, hold on tight and you won't have any
Lend it, spend it and you'll have so many, they'll roll all over the floor...

Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.

I've been thinking a lot lately about giving. Of our time, of our finances, of our services...especially the finances part. You see, Brandon and I have made the commitment to be faithful with our giving. It's something that is important to us and we believe that God will multiply what we're able to give and do amazing things with it. But...it's almost summer. And I am not working this summer. So that means, we go from two incomes - to one. We already live fairly frugally, not extravagantly, so pretty much each penny we earn goes to something pretty specific. So, we're at a place right now, that we're really having to trust that God is going to take care of us. Not always the easiest thing to do! (Which reminds me, if you read this blog and are looking for a house/dog/kid sitter this summer - or for some private piano/guitar/music theory lessons or a tutor for your kids this summer - PLEASE keep me in mind!!)
So, as we're looking at our finances for the summer - trying to be wise with our money - do we stop tithing? So we can "reclaim" that money? I'm sure some people would say absolutely yes. Or do we alter our amount we've been giving - so that's more "appropriate" to our actual income? I'm sure more people would say yes to that as well. But, I'm not sure that's the right thing for us. God is so faithful to provide for us, in ways we can't even understand - and one thing He asks of us is to be generous too. In Luke 6:38 it says: "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back." Wow. I like how the Message translation says it as well: "Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity"
As I mentioned in a previous post, Brandon and I are reading the book "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns right now. I would highly recommend it to anyone! It really addresses some of the issues in our world surrounding poverty and caring for the "least of these" as the Bible calls us to. I read this information on a blog today (http://www.thinviel.net) about the book - and it really shocked me.

The seriousness of poverty in this world quickly becomes evident, and the lack of response from the American church becomes clear just as fast. Stearns notes that despite the Old Testament mandate to tithe, or give 10%, of one’s income to the church and the poor, American Christians on average give away only 2% of their income to churches or charities. And only 2% of this 2% goes to fund international work—0.04% of American Christian’s total income. Understanding that, these statistics become terribly convicting:

• The total annual income of American churchgoers: $5.2 trillion
• Amount available if each of them gave 10% of their salary: $520 billion
• Estimated annual cost to eliminate extreme poverty in the world: $65 billion
• Annual cost for universal primary education for ALL children in the world: $6 billion• Annual cost to bring clean water to most of the world: $9 billion
• Annual cost to bring basic health and nutrition for the world: $13 billion
• Total to eradicate the world’s greatest problems: $93 billion (1.8% of American Christian’s income)
Um, wow. Isn't that mind-blowing? It seems so simple to me now after reading those numbers. And as tempting as it is to "reclaim" that income for the summer, to take care of ourselves - God can do so much more with that little 10% - not only for us - but the people He calls us to take care of.

So, my friends let's take those "magic pennies" (and nickles and dimes and $100 bills!) out of our pockets - let's give them away! Because, I can't wait to see what it's going to look like when they start spilling over!

...."Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away,
Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more."


Anonymous said...

Jennifer, thank you for speaking such true words. I encourage you to continue your tithing trusting God will provide in ways you can't imagine. Joshua and I struggled with our obedience in this area but it didn't take Him long to reward us for our faithfulness; in turn, we were able to give out of our abundance that quite frankly, shouldn't have been possible. Praying financial blessings over you and Brandon.
Jennifer Gamlen

@nicolewick on June 7, 2010 at 8:08 PM said...

This was a very timely post for me to read. I'm very, very, very glad you linked it on my blog. I needed to read it.

Denise Dilley on June 8, 2010 at 8:44 PM said...

That's twice today that I've read that Americans only give 2% of their income and only 2% goes to fund international work. Wow. It's a heartbreaking statistic considering how affluent we are as a nation.

On a positive note, though, what the Word says - "generosity begets generosity" - is so true! Another blog I read today (http://thementoringproject.org/blog/item/root/ugandan-youth-support-tmp.html) talks about Ugandan youth who are giving back to those in need! It's encouraging!


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