Upon graduating from college, I became a full-time missionary on a college campus. I am thankful for many graces during that time and experience, one of them being my perspective on giving.
As a missionary (with FOCUS), I was trained in fundraising the entirety of my salary. My wife and I were married after my first year as a missionary and Emily had a great way of looking at the balance of fundraising, working, and mission on the college campus. She would often say, “Normally in a job, we work and because we work, we are paid. As a missionary, in order to work, we must raise funds to allow us to do what we know needs to be done.” She was probably more eloquent in how she phrased it, but that’s the gist. This idea became deeply ingrained in me. In a very real sense, the funds people were supporting us with, weren’t ours. We weren’t entitled to anything.
In my current role, I have the opportunity to speak to collegiate graduating seniors about tithing. It is one of my favorite aspects of the job because finances are going to be a huge part of their daily lives. One thing I highlight is the typical attitude towards giving. The order of questions many people ask themselves when budgeting are often:
1) Where can I afford to live?
2) What can I afford to drive?
3) What kind of lifestyle can I afford to have; travel, entertainment, etc.
4) Oh, and I know I should give some too.
I like to challenge that mentality! Everything we have is a gift, but many things of the world push us to turn inward, thinking first about ourselves, particularly with our finances.
My parents are incredibly generous people, and I am thankful for their witness and the foundation they provided me in regards to tithing. They did this by being generous with what they had, but even more so by living in a humble way that allowed, even prioritized, that giving. My experience as a missionary deepened that belief in giving. Emily and I felt strongly that if we were asking people to support us, we had better be generous ourselves.
In Numbers 18:26 it says, Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering.” For context, this is the Old Testament and it is speaking of the priestly Levites, but it couldn’t be more relevant today. Tithe literally means 10%. I challenge college graduates to consider what 10% looks like in the budget of their newfound incomes. Do they want to give with their “first fruits”, or do they want to give a little at the end just because they think they probably should. If we invite the Lord into our finances, it naturally shifts us from thinking about ourselves, to thinking about others. Giving Tuesday is a good day for all of us to take an honest look at our finances. Have I ever actually calculated what 10% of my income is?
Biking for Babies is an amazing and worthy cause. As an individual that works primarily on the financial aspect of the nonprofit, I can attest to their incredible diligence. Because we’re talking about finances, it’s fitting to see a little bit about Biking for Babies by the numbers below. This year for Giving Tuesday, please consider reviewing your giving, and give of your first fruits!
In Biking for Babies 10 years it has:
- Formed 100 young adult missionaries
- Raised over $630,000 for life-affirming work of Pregnancy Resource Centers
- Supported 58 centers across the country
- Given 100% of what its missionaries raise to Pregnancy Resource Centers