Warren Thompson was at the Rock’s 8AM service as usual. It had been years since he first showed up to hear about Jesus, as if perhaps, according to his sister, doing so might help him change his life. As a guy who had gone through a painful divorce, and who had every self-destructive vice imaginable, he knew he needed a drastic change. And by accepting Jesus that first day, he got one. His life took a massive turn.
But now, seven years later, he had no way of knowing that as he was standing and singing worship songs next to his second wife, secure in his faith, that he was about to have life-changing experience number two.
Warren Thompson, even though he had given his life to Christ, was not a man at peace. He was a jumble of anxiety over the current condition of his electrical contracting company, as well another company he was an investor in. As a business owner, he was accustomed to financial peaks and valleys. He enjoyed feast and had suffered through famine. But it was famine time again for Warren, and his heart and mind were stressed to the breaking point. He had tried to make deals with God on many occasions. If you grant me abundance, I can do more with the church. If you get me out of this lawsuit, I will commit more time to reading the Bible. It was a help-me-now-and-I’ll-get-back-to-you-later attitude.
But even after having enough money to build his own beautiful custom home on 3.5 acres on a mountainside, owning fancy cars, and enjoying all the comforts anyone could ever need—he still never felt like God was willing to deal with him. And so, beneath the nice exterior, he was a mess, regularly worrying late into the night, so much so that he couldn’t sleep. In fact, he hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in months.
As the congregation took their seats and the Rock sanctuary darkened, a video began to play. It was about how Rock Church was starting an orphanage in Haiti amid the almost unfathomable conditions. Then he learned of one orphaned baby boy who was left for dead at a trash dumpsite. The mere thought of this brought him to tears. He felt his heart break for this child, and he then thought of the stress that the mother must have been under to make this decision to abandon her baby on a mound of trash.
That’s when everything changed for Warren. He suddenly felt that nothing about his circumstance, and the turmoil inside his heart, made any sense. How could he wallow in fear about not making more money while innocent children are suffering unspeakable tragedies?
There was a strong tugging at his heart. He went to Rock Church Stewardship Pastor, Chuck Leslie, with checkbook in-hand. Before he sat down to write, he tried to strike one last deal with God. “Lord,” he said, “I’m going to give money to the orphanage in Haiti, and this time, if you can find it in your heart, please grant me some peace. I don’t need more money.”
As soon as Warren wrote a check that was significant enough to where He would have to trust God to get him to the end of the month, peace came over him like someone opening a window in a stuffy room on a breezy day. He felt completely different. He was at peace.
That night, he slept like a baby. This act of giving had changed him forever. When he got up the next morning, he knew nothing in his life was going to be the same. He had to find more ways to give. And so, he has. He gives because he loves God. He gives because there is so much need. And he gives because when he thought he had a lot of money, the money really had him—and he didn’t want to be a slave anymore.
“It’s really become a way of life,” he says. “It’s almost an addiction. I’m about to go out right now and buy a thousand bikes and donate them to a bicycle drive for disadvantaged children, and my bank account is down to zero. But I believe that God will come through on this. He always does. How else can one explain this joy in my heart?”
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35 (NKJV)