Multiply: Changing Hearts
Aug 10, 2016
John is a small group leader at the Summit and has really seen God move in the lives of his group members.
One couple shared with the group that they had been giving consistently and sacrificially for a couple decades. They had often seen God care for them through life’s ups and downs. However, due to disappointments with the Church, they harbored bitterness and anger. About a year ago this manifested itself in “laziness” in giving. They were apathetic, unexcited givers, holding back “just because.” As the wife (Amy) said ""Bottom line, we were sinning against God and okay with that.”
Through messages this past fall, and being around people convicted and changing, God gripped their hearts. Amy said that one day she turned to her husband, Larry, and said “We need to start giving generously again, and not only that, but I want us to consider giving all that we should have given over the past year as a symbolic way of saying we surrender to you again, Lord!” It took Larry a little time wrestling and praying, and then he heartily agreed.
John said that both Amy and Larry have committed to ongoing surrender and wrote the much bigger check to tangibly remind them of God’s worthiness, goodness, and mercy.
A second couple in John’s group had a similar struggle in completely surrendering to God’s call.
Lisa and Peter shared in the group that God had been working in their lives in striking ways. Peter in particular said he struggles with the need for control in all aspects of his life, and seeing that they were starting a family and had uncertainties (and most likely income changes) coming up, they were both scared. When the time came to commit to the Multiply initiative in the fall of 2015, they prayed and talked about what their giving would be, facing the upcoming variables in their lives. During Commitment Weekend, they felt satisfied with their response.
However, as the call to place the card in the bucket came, the Holy Spirit moved in both of them. In a bold, surrendered declaration, they silently agreed with each other to increase the number by one third and dropped the card in the bucket. Immediately, Peter said he shivered and felt weak, but that he knew that this symbolic gesture of obedience and putting their best first would reap a harvest yet to come.
“One point I have heard Pastor J.D. make often is that our perspective about ownership of all things, money included, makes a big difference in how we approach them. If you think all of it is “yours,” and God wants 10%, then you give begrudgingly and in a sporadic manner,” said John. “However, the hearts of our group members have been changed, so they realize even more now that God owns everything, and he asks us to be the steward of it. In each case, it is simply a question of where he wants them to employ their resources best.”
By Elizabeth Ashford