A Declaration that Leads to Generosity
Being rich toward God can sometimes come through fulfilling a vow. As an example, let's look at the testimony of a giver who made a declaration to help others. The man’s story was similar to many who lived through the years of the Great Depression in the United States. He grew up poor. Christmas in his home was a shared fruit basket from the Salvation Army. But this man, even as a young boy, had aspirations and a driving desire to make things different for his own family - once he had one. After a lot of hard work, a college education and stents in the military, the man found himself married to a wonderful young lady. Their life together alone as a couple was very short lived as they quickly added children to their quiver and didn’t stop until there was a house full of them.
Providentially, every new birth of a child corresponded with an elevation in job position along with a higher salary. It was needed. Feeding that many mouths took a lot! After decades of work, the man reached the pinnacle of his professional career. President of a multimillion dollar division of a multinational, multibillion dollar company must have seemed the height of this man’s dedicated journey to raise a family and produce on behalf of his wife, children and coworkers.
But the man did something unexpected, something unusual for a man of his age and in his social and professional status. He got captured by a need. While attending church he heard of the need for beds at an orphanage in the Philippines. Such a simple thing, a simple need, kids in need of beds. That simple thing turned into a catalyse that altered the course of this man’s life and the lives of his whole family for generations to come.
How does hearing of a need become a life altering event? The hearer takes action. In this instance, the man felt compassion in his heart. His compassion led him to make a declaration. Speaking to his wife, the man made this statement, “If God would bless me, I would love to help those children get beds.” In fact, if God would really bless him, this man said he would give 50% of everything he made back to God. That was it. A declaration, some would call it a vow, made by a man who saw a need and wanted to help.
This is the part in the story where we expect to hear how the man was blessed with some unexpected inheritance or winning the lottery or some other event that changed his life instantly. Not so fast. In under 3 months from that declaration, this man had lost his job. 9 months later he was still unable to find a job, being overqualified for positions available and requiring a substantial salary to finish raising his children who remained at home. So, one year after the declaration, the man and his wife and family were living off of savings and wondering what would be the next step. In the task of trying to make ends meet, the vow was understandably forgotten.
But the mysterious ways of God continued to twist and turn before the man. God had in His hand a qualified person, fit for a job and dedicated to fulfilling the words he had spoken. The first step was to move the man from his place of comfort. There goes the job. The second step was to not allow the man to reenter his comfort zone. No new job available for this overqualified candidate. The last step was to remove everything from the man’s life that he intended to use to fulfill his vow. Not being able to find a job with another company, the only option the man had was to start or buy a company and run it. Having experience in running multimillion dollar operations left him qualified to buy and run such a company. But buying such a company takes a lot of money - money that was needed to fulfill his vow. Along with investors and every last dime his family had in retirement and savings, the man bought his first company. Over the next decade, he would buy several more and end up building businesses with a value much greater than he could have expected, or possibly even imagined.
Oh, the man and his wife also started a foundation dedicated to assisting children in need. They were able to buy new beds for orphans and more. They used their blessing to touch the lives of millions of people around the world. The man kept his vow and in so doing became rich toward God. Generosity became his endeavor and that generosity has continued to have an impact.