By Jonathan & Sami Hagar
Ohio and Colorado
**Jon’s first teen camp was in 2003, “Dare to Be Different.” Sami followed in 2005 at the camp themed “What Does the Word Say?” Pretty soon, their kids will be old enough to attend!
Recently, we watched our young waitress’s eyes tear up as she noticed the $100 tip we had left. As she asked if she could give us a hug and thanked us profusely, I was struck by the difference a hundred dollars can make in a person’s life. As we left that evening, we discussed a time not so long ago when a hundred dollars was a game changer in our own lives.
So many times, we have been at the receiving end of financial gifts. On multiple occasions, someone listening to our Father would give to us, not knowing they were covering our bills that month or helping provide food for our kids.
There were even a few seasons where wonderful people, moved by God, blessed our family by covering our rent for months while I went to school. Times like that, we didn’t even know the full impact until years down the road, when we looked back on the path it put us on.
You could say it is still impacting us and those around us, as it helped us form our attitude towards giving.
God Takes Care of His Kids
God faithfully took care of us when we were both single parents struggling to make ends meet. However, when we became a married couple and agreed to give to God first, He really began to pour it on in a whole new level.
Our income quickly multiplied in ways we never thought possible. God continues to work with us to bless others and blesses us abundantly in the process.
In a broad sense, God is the source of every blessing (James 1:17), but sometimes He puts his undeniable mark on money matters to get our attention. The most memorable giving stories are the times when God has worked in us or others to give specific amounts that exactly meet the need.
Like the time I was $148 short on rent, and God put someone in my path to give me that exact number. Times like that build and reinforce your faith, and the faith of those giving like not much else can.
We are absolutely believers in giving to the individual, but it is also our responsibility and privilege as Christians to give to the church. We are called to “disciple all the nations” and to “go unto all the world and preach the gospel to all living things.”
One way we do this is by giving to a church. Churches are uniquely positioned to spread the good news locally and abroad.
Put God to the Test
Years ago, we heard a teaching on giving where the church challenged the congregation to “test [prove] God” like it says in Malachi.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heave, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10 KJV
They offered a “tithing challenge” to give for 90 days, and if God doesn’t bless the giver, the church would return all their money, no questions asked.
The church wasn’t afraid of having to give it back. They had seen time and time again, God being faithful to his promises.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV
We were already giving, but were also proud that the leaders offered such a challenge. However, what stood out most was someone’s mention of Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments.”
That reminded us that when we tithe our first fruits, we’ll be blessed. In that moment, I realized I would much rather live off 90% of my income blessed, than 100% of it not. With this in mind, I could cheerfully give, knowing that everything I have is God’s anyway.
Photo courtesy of pxfuel
We believe that by our obedience in joyful giving, God takes care of us in unseen ways as well. Our vehicles run better and last longer than most would expect. Our needs and wants are almost always met, whether it’s for something meaningful or something trivial.
God always provides. God has even kept our big family in amazing health! Good financial stewardship opens the door for blessings in every area of life.
In every way imaginable, we are most certainly “spoiled” children of the Most High! Our journey in joyfully giving as a married couple is ongoing and never dull.
We are honored and privileged that God continues to trust us with an abundance to pour out. And He gives us the guidance day by day how to best serve the kingdom with our money.
Money, after all, is an excellent tool for the kingdom. It is a simple way to show people the heart of our Father and to help the church accomplish what it is called to.
We pray that followers of Christ continue to trust him in all matters of money and experience a lifestyle of joyful generosity.
Jonathan & Sami and their five children love adventure. They split their time between their home in Troy, Ohio and their “home on wheels,” which allows them to explore our country, visiting friends and family along the way.