Show me the money part 2: Radical giving
Group texts can be a blessing but most of the time they appear to be a curse with the relentless dinging that your phone endures.
But this past year, I watched an Acts 2 miracle occur on GroupMe!
Be the church
Macall was a fired up Chi-O involved in our college ministry.
She jumped into everything, from small groups to mission trips, and soon became a leader.
She loved everyone and tenaciously pursued girls in discipleship.
After graduation, she did our church’s discipleship school and continued to lead college students.
The following year, the Syrian refugee crisis caught her attention and Macall knew this was the moment she had been waiting for.
One problem: she had a lot of school debt.
Her parents were not thrilled about this and made it clear that she was not allowed to go until she paid off her school loans.
She got a job, lived simply, and began to tackle the debt that stood between her and the nations.
But, when it seemed she was making traction, expenses would come up and the finish line was farther from her reach.
That’s when my GroupMe began to light up.
One of the girls Macall disciples sent out a simple group text: “like this message if you love Macall!”
As you can imagine, everybody and their dog hit the heart.
The texts continued to come: “We’ve been talking about the Acts 2 church in our small groups: ‘They were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.’ As you know, our beloved Macall has worked hard to get to the nations, but she needs our help. Let’s stop talking and start being the church. Secretly reply to me if you are willing to give anything to help our friend.”
I kid you not, within twelve hours, this community of college students had raised $3400!
Macall didn’t know it yet, but she had been liberated from her debt by a bunch of barely-making-it-themselves college students!
They asked me if they could surprise her in front of our entire college service, which was a no-brainer!
After worship, they told the story and brought Macall to the stage to present her with her financial gift. She was in tears. We were in tears. God’s presence was thick in the room and no one wanted to leave.
The message that offering gave was stronger than any sermon I was about to deliver.
Then something happened: a chain reaction.
Giving is contagious
Another group of students witnessing this Acts 2 moment decided to host one of their own.
A guy in their community had been a selfless servant for several years.
He carried a full-time academic load, a part-time job and, with no help from home, was often barely able to keep his rent and bills paid.
So when he heard about our spring break mission trip, he wanted to go, but knew the $450 price tag was an impossible mountain to face.
Within a week, his community had raised enough money to pay his rent for one month and his mission trip fee.
Again, they asked if they could honor him at our college service. Again, it was an easy yes.
After worship, his leader got up and began to encourage him publicly.
Just then, his friends ran in – dressed in hilarious costumes & holding banners describing their love for him. Again, everyone was in tears as we watched the heaviness of his financial predicament roll off.
When I later heard the stories of how much individuals had given and the sacrifices people made to help their brother out, I was undone.
This is as good as it gets.
The adventure of giving
The American Dream has a gravitational pull on all of us.
As we speak, college students are majoring in degrees that will financially profit them in the years ahead.
And they’re being taught how to pick their stock options carefully and plan their retirement accordingly.
But there is one conviction that the university will most likely not disciple into them: Sacrificial giving. Giving when you yourself are in need (not in debt).
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying making money is a bad thing. I’m saying that sacrificial giving is a missing thing in our economically driven world and it’s our privilege to disciple this paradigm into our students.
I’m committed to keeping this a core value in our small groups, large gatherings and in our discipleship connections with students. Why? It’s easier to teach a twenty year old than to retrain a forty year old.
And throughout the years I have seen that those who give radically and sacrificially get to be a part of a spiritual adventure that many never get to taste.
That’s an invitation I’m gonna keep passing out.
Continue reading Show me the money part 3: Debt to find out how debt can affect students’ lives and plans.