Giving

Today we had the wonderfully difficult staff meeting of explaining to a room full of mystified women the whole idea of tithing… or blessed to be a blessing.  We are still pinching ourselves a bit, but God has blessed us with a healthy profit.  We don’t have the final numbers, but we really do thank God for how He has blessed the Nozomi Project.

Our Be One/Nozomi team has decide that we want to tithe 20% of our first year profits… 10% to local Tohoku needs, and 10% to those with great needs overseas.  We don’t know how orthodox this is, but it has felt like the right decision.  We are setting aside 10% or so to bless our staff as well, and the rest will be invested back into our company.

Chad came to the meeting and helped to shared the vision and our desire to be a blessing just as God has blessed us so much.  What we have is all a result of God blessing us — it is all His! — and we want to share from the first of that.  We gave out a sheet I had prepared with possible agencies and ideas for local and overseas giving.

I shared with the staff the lesson that Eric and I learned a few years after our marriage.  We were both seminary students, and we had started using our credit cards to get from month to month… and the debt starting adding up.  We didn’t share about it with others.  Then one night we attended our hope group — a weekly fellowship from our church.  I can’t remember the topic, but we ended up sharing with our friends there about our debt.  As they gathered around to pray for us, one of the older members wisely asked, “Are you tithing?”  We realized that we had both tithed before marriage but it had somehow slipped away as a priority the past year or two.  We kneeled there and surrendered all of our finances to God.  It was a major turning point for us in many ways.  WIthin a year of taking our tithe out first from our monthly pay, our debt was manageable and nearly gone.  It has been a foundational principle of our lives since;  both with income as well as gifts that we have received.

This morning I called my dad, and told him about the talk we were about to have.  He has been one of the models of generous living to me — even at 85 he continues trying to outgive what he gave the previous year.  He won’t tell me how me the percentage because he doesn’t want to boast.

He told me about a Christian great who he met one time while flying in a small plane back from Peru… R.G. LeTourneau.  This Christian man made his money from inventing heavy machinery… I read that 70% of the machinery used in World War II had been invented by R.G.  As he and his wife began the practice of tithing, they inverted the normal Christian way of doing things – they lived on 10% and gave away 90%.  Even still, they prospered and were able to make a great impact.

My desire is that Nozomi Project will be known for being generous — to our staff, to those starting new things;  to those in need.  And that God will continue to work in my own life to love being generous more and more.  This is the way of Christmas.

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