I found this in a newsletter around my house, and I couldn't resist the temptation to share it. It makes me wonder if I was ever brainwashed enough to buy into this sort of stuff.
John’s family had committed $7,500 to their church’s capital stewardship program, but after private prayer and study, John came to believe that God wanted them to double that amount. He knew this challenge would not go over well with the rest of the family, as they had already made significant adjustments to commit to the $7,500 mark. Yet in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, he gathered them all together and revealed his heart’s desire.
His proposal was that each family member would pray during the week to ask God to reveal to them how and where current expenditures could be freed up to increase giving. Then, on following Sundays, they would again meet to discuss each person’s ideas. As a family, they would then assign a dollar amount to each suggestion and decide whether or not to pursue it. If God showed them nothing, the family would be free of the projected commitment of $15,000.
Four weeks later, John’s five-member family had come up with a surprising number of wide-ranging cost-saving strategies. The major saving concerned the family’s routine of dining out four times a week, a luxury on which they were spending more than $100 a week. They adopted his suggestion of reducing this habit to twice weekly, and donating the saving of $50 a week to the church’s project. In the same spirit, they reevaluated their auto and home insurance premiums, cablevision, and magazine subscriptions, food purchases, and auto usage.
Even the younger members of the family found creative ways to make their own contributions. Henry, the middle school son, began taking his lunch to school rather than buying it, thereby saving eight dollars a week. He also suggested having his weekly ten-dollar allowance cut in half. His elder sister Bessie, a high school student, volunteered to cut back on her weekly social outings with friends, which released another $30 monthly toward the effort.
When totaled, the personal sacrifices of each family member amounted to a figure of just over $100 per week--$15,600 over the course of three years! Greatly encouraged, John discovered they could more than triple their original commitment of $7,500—to $23,000!
“I never dreamed we could do it, but we are thrilled God could use our family to help grow our church this way,” John said. “And the extra blessing is that we’re a stronger and better family for it.”
Not surprisingly, the suggestions were easier to come up with than they were to practice and maintain. Golda, John’s wife, admitted there was an initial period of adjustment for each member of the family, but added that things soon became easier.
“We came to discover that what we had thought of as necessities were not, after all,” she said. “Though it did take three months for us t o come to that realization.”
Struggle is part of the nature of sacrifice, but this family’s story illustrates what one family, firmly committed to its faith in God, can achieve through sacrificial giving to advance the cause of Christ.