TITLE: Stirred (Part 2) updated 12/24/15
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The conclusion of "Stirred in in Part 3.
No one else appeared to be as moved as I was. It was the business lunch hour and they were enjoying the food.
As soon as the gathering ended, I returned to my office and read the whole NCF website. The tornado in my heart set me down “front and center” with scriptures about giving, which came to life in NCF’s programs. For example, in 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” I have found this scripture to be true. God continued to bless me as I joyfully gave to others.
I set up an NCF donor account as soon as I finished reading the website and made a tax-deductible donation to the account. From my donor account, I was able to give on-line to multiple charitable organizations. I realized that this method of giving allowed me to take the time to pray and plan to give. Through NCF, I learned that wise giving is intentional, not casual.
The next step for me was to donate an appreciated asset. The first appreciated assets that I donated were stocks that had been traded on the New York Stock Exchange for almost 100 years. NCF’s policy with gifted stock is to sell it as soon as they receive it, which they did with my gifted stock. It sold right away at one of the stock’s highest values ever. And no one would have guessed that its price would plummet a precipitous 45% in the 2008 market crash right after NCF sold the stock. No one! Except God. Moreover, God continues to miraculously affirm my donations of appreciated securities—at peak prices. Everything in heaven and earth belongs to God. He controls the financial markets and desires to bless us.
Please don’t misunderstand; donating cash and other things is great, but if you are able to, donating appreciated assets can fulfill God’s instruction to give the best of the firstfruits (Exodus 23:19). God already grew and picked the assets that I donate, it is the first investment with the biggest gain. I label assets that God puts under my control “It’s God’s” to help me keep focused on God as the creator, grower, and owner of it.
The most important point about giving is the heart with which we give. Jesus explained in Mark 12 that a widow who gave an offering of two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents, put in more than the rich people who gave large amounts. “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” This widow is one of my favorite Biblical heroines. The focus of this message is the widow’s faith in God to provide for her daily needs. I imagine that she was able to give everything she had because she was already experiencing God’s miraculous care for her. She was confident that God would continue to provide daily for her. What makes the widow’s actions remarkable is that, in Jesus’ day, there was no established support system for widows although the church would offer some assistance. According to 1 Timothy 5:3-16, if a widow had no children or grandchildren to help her, the church would provide for her. This widow’s story teaches us that giving isn’t dependent on how much you have, little or lots. Giving is dependent on a mind and heart that is focused on God.
God stirred my heart when I:
• read the story of Abigail
• saw the open Bible at the center of the conference table
• listened to Terry Parker read one of my favorite Bible passages, 1 Chronicles 29, and announce that he would allow God to work in our hearts
• encouraged Mike Barques to grow closer to Christ by reviewing 1 Chronicles 29 with him
• read through the NCF website and saw how scripture manifests itself in NCF’s wise giving programs
• set up an NCF account and prayerfully gave to multiple non-profits
• gave appreciated assets and God received them at their peak values
One way that God facilitates positive change in us is by stirring our hearts. He moves my heart to give. I wish to wisely give away everything that He has entrusted me with. After all, we are just passing through this world; and if we allow Him to lead us, God funnels His blessings through us for His glory. God taught me that He gives more through me than to me. The truth written in Job 1:21 inspires me to die having given away all my blessings to others, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.”
Will God’s stirring in your heart lead you to a positive change?
Abigail’s plea to David applies to us; God is calling you to greater things.
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