First and Best vs. Radical?: Couple Learns the Two Might Not Be the Same

May 31, 2022

Written by Mary Moorefield, Volunteer Writer

When thinking of giving to the church, many ask “How much is enough?” Is 10 percent sufficient? If giving more than that, that’s really great, right?

Alamance County couple Keller and Holly have come to see that, perhaps, those aren’t the right questions.

Keller, a financial advisor, and Holly, a math teacher, thought that by going above and beyond 10 percent that they were “doing it right,” – that they were living sacrificially and giving radically. But during Summit’s recent “Begin Again” series they realized that it wasn’t about the amount that they were giving it was their heart posture – were they giving their first and their best?

Keller described how the Holy Spirit began to work in him. “I started to desire to live a more affluent lifestyle,” he admitted. “I didn’t desire to give less because I still saw it as a priority to give to the church, but I felt like I was giving enough. I didn’t realize how dangerous that was.”

As part of that, Keller wanted a new car. After months of deliberation and having the financial means to do so, he ordered the car. Immediately feeling convicted, he ultimately discerned it was the Holy Spirit.

It became clearer when the couple attended the prayer and vision night for the new Alamance County campus facility.

“I felt this outrageous conviction that I wasn’t giving God my first and my best, that I was confusing giving a radical tithe with my first and best,” Keller said. “Salvation of others and making disciples is all that matters. I felt convicted – I have a car that runs – and I’m prioritizing that over the mission and the gospel itself.”

Keller and Holly decided that night to give what they would have paid for the car to the church.

He believes that God used the timing of receiving the car and the prayer night to teach him that all that matters is the gospel above all in our lives.

Further, they desired, like Pastor J.D. has mentioned, for their generosity to be their largest “expense on the balance sheet,” Keller said. Over time, they saw that “God was faithful, and we were able to give more for the sake of the gospel than anything else they pay for.”

Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God taught Keller and Holly that he wants our first and our best – and that’s not a number in a bank account but the desires of the heart.

“God is faithful,” Keller said, “and He continues to be when we desire to give away our home, our stuff and our money.”