Dear Multnomah Family,
I am on a journey to grow my heart to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21). It hasn’t always been easy, as I used to see my money as…well...MY money. That is, until God got a hold of my heart one day in a very subtle way. It was about 6 years ago, but it seems just like yesterday. I was working for Prison Fellowship, enjoying my new role of raising resources for the kingdom and encouraging those that God put in my care to be generous. I pulled up to the post office with 200 letters tucked under one arm. I was excited to sow seeds of biblical truth and encourage others to respond, no matter where God led them to give.
As I walked up, I saw a young man, 19 or 20 years old, standing near the door holding a 3x5 card. He needed $3.00 for a bus fare and lunch. I did what we all do. I avoided eye contact and kept moving.
Side note: I used to love to collect change in my car ashtray: quarters, dimes and nickels. I loved to watch it pile up. I never used it. My family knew not to touch “Dad’s coin tray.” It’s for looking at and admiring the collection as it grows. It made me feel like I was saving up for something special, for some rainy day that never came. It gave me a sense of control. Because, after all, it was MY money.
So, I’m standing in line with this mass mailing I’m sending out for God to help His people be generous, and instantly I hear the Holy Spirit nudge me and quietly speak into my heart: “You know all that change you have in your ashtray? I want you to give it ALL to him.”
“But LORD!” I immediately protested, “That’s MY...” — but as soon as I said the word “my,” I stopped. Here I was being the “good messenger of God” and the Spirit was speaking to me to lead by example. How could I encourage others to give generously when I myself needed to let go of “my stuff” and see it as His? Everything I have been blessed with is “His stuff.” I am just privileged to manage it for my Master.
After mailing my letters, I went immediately to my car, with exuberant joy in my heart for what I was about to do. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on his face. It took me awhile to scoop out the $30 worth of change and get it all into my two cupped hands, but I did it, and I walked up to him with a huge ear-to-ear grin.
“Hi, I’m Steve. What’s your name?” He gets a pen out and writes his name down for me. It turns out he is deaf. “Mark,” he scribbles. I said, “Mark – God asked me to give this to you. It’s for you. He wants you to know He loves you and is taking care of you.”
You should have seen his eyes bug out. He only needed $3. I just gave him $30 of God’s money!
I wish I could say Mark came to Christ that day, but I don’t know. But I do know that I will never forget that day. God changed my heart that day — or should I say my wallet? I took a major step forward in my journey of generosity and haven’t looked back. Who do you think was blessed MORE: Mark or Me? I believe it’s always the giver who receives the greatest joy. It is a joy to steward all that God has entrusted to us: our time, our talent and our treasure for the kingdom.
That’s exactly what we are fostering here at Multnomah. Not because God needs our money. He already owns it and is really the “Chief Fundraiser” here at MU. God wants our hearts. I pray you stay engaged with us and grow with us in your journey of generosity.
Steve Cummings, M.Div.
Vice President of Advancement