It’s funny to think about how things have changed. There was a time when my wife and I were rather opposites when it came to money. Becky was a mega-saver, frugal, smart, and tight. Me, I just wanted to buy everything up. Money was for having fun.
After starting to attend the Rock, we began the Surf Ministry and found ourselves sinking deeper and deeper into our church lives...and loving it. We thought that that was pretty much all there was to it—going to church, praising God, and doing our ministry. It was comfortable, exciting, and very fun. But it was during the Wired for Love sermon series a few years ago that God began speaking to our hearts in a different way than we were used to. I remember Pastor Miles saying, “The last thing to get saved is your wallet.” That piqued my interest. I thought I had given everything to God. There was more? I guess I should have anticipated that God had some dealing to do with me. I mean, I rather flinched every time I heard about the 10% tithe. Doesn’t a 10% tithe seem like an exorbitant amount to ask someone working for a living to give to the church? It seemed so outrageous to me.
I remember Pastor Miles saying, “The last thing to get saved is your wallet.”
In time, however, messages from Pastor Miles began to seep in and cause us to wonder if God was trying to take us to a new understanding of money. We heard about Rock Financial Life (RFL) and knew that many people sang its praises. We thought, “Okay, we’ll bite.”
As we attended classes, it was clear that money was much more than anything we had thought it to be. RFL showed us that we were giving it way too much power. Our idea of money had become a bit of a prison for us, and that, if we could give it away, we could become free of it.
I didn’t know what to make of this new perspective, so I thought I would give it a try and see if God would confirm it. I started by making a commitment to give $100 each Sunday. However, on the first Sunday, I had a surf competition (I’m a competitive surfer) and wasn’t going to make it to church. I was already $100 in the hole to God. I’d have to give $200 the following week. That week, I was to be in a photoshoot for my sponsor (something I’m never paid for), and my manager called to say that they were going to pay me $200.
Hmm, I thought.
Well, that week, my manager and I kept missing each other and by the end of the week, I hadn’t gotten my $200, the amount I had planned to give that Sunday. So, I gave from my account. That week, my manager came to my house and brought with him a check. It was for $300. “What’s this?” I asked.
“Your sponsor decided they wanted to give you three hundred instead."
That got my attention. It seemed like God was a step ahead of me.
Next, during the ALL IN campaign, we were encouraged to consider giving over and above our weekly tithe. Becky and I came together to talk about how much we were going to give.
“I have a number in mind,” I said. “God gave it to me.”
“Me too,” she said. “I think we should give $5000 for two years.”
“Over two years?” I asked.
“No, $5000 a year, for two years.”
“That’s exactly what God told me!”
Wow. We had really stepped out. How in the world were we going to be able to pull that off? It was scary but God had miraculously implanted in our hearts the same number. What were the odds of that?
Wow. We had really stepped out. How in the world were we going to be able to pull that off?
Layoffs at work were happening and anybody who was able to keep their jobs could expect to not have a bonus. Times were tough. Both Becky and I worked for the same department at the same company and now that we had committed to participate in the ALL IN campaign, we were just both happy to have a job.
Suddenly we were called in by our manager. We gulped.
How are you guys doing?” he asked. “Fine,” we said nervously, hoping that this would just be a time of catching up. “Well, we’re not going to be able to give you bonuses this year,” he said.
“We understand. We’re just happy to still have jobs.”
“But we would like to give Becky a promotion. And it comes with a $5000 a year increase.”
That was it. We were ALL IN now. God had made it too clear that He was leading us into this new life. We felt the shackles of money falling off. As long as we saw our money as a way to bless the church, money lost its control and power over us. God was in control.
Today we look for more and more ways to give. We are having a great time. We are free of money. We are not rich. But we are free. It was RFL and ALL IN that led us to that gift.