Learning to Give God’s Way by Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller
Steve Anderson has found himself challenged by the call to sacrificial giving on three occasions over the past 20 years as life and career has moved him back and forth across the country. And he has seen his faith and trust in God grow as he has responded to each.
As new Christians two decades ago, Steve and his wife, Bonnie, faced their first giving challenge. “We really didn’t know what sacrificial giving meant. We each wrote down a number that was bigger than either of us could have imagined, and it turned out to be the same number! With great trepidation we made the commitment,” Steve said. “A year into it, we were feeling it. It was difficult … but then Bonnie got an unexpected bonus at work that was three times what we had committed. We were looking at each other thinking, ‘This is incredible.’”
Five years later the couple moved to Carlsbad and began attending a new church. “And guess what,” Steve said, “they were having a building campaign. This time we … took that sacrificial thing seriously. We both wrote down a number and, again, it was the same. I thought the number was way too high.” Yet, despite having recently purchased a home, the couple made the commitment. They saw the property value quickly grow so that by the time they made their next move the real estate gains were plenty to cover their commitment.
Upon arriving in Half Moon Bay, they began attending Mariners. No surprise, they found themselves asked to contribute to a building campaign. “We told (Pastor) Paul, that we had figured out what our ministry was: It was to go to a church and help build,” Steve said with a laugh. “This time it was a lot easier.”
Steve is quick to note that sacrificial giving is not about financial reward. That’s not how God works. “It’s not just the faithfulness that we found in God in finances. The other miracles we found in our life just made it easy,” he said.
He suggests that giving becomes easier when following basic principles of Christian finance, including budgeting, regular savings and debt avoidance.
“(Evangelist) Rick Warren says, ‘You can’t out give God.’ And I truly believe that. And that’s what we’ve experienced. We don’t give to get. We give because He gave.”