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Stewardship Stories: Givers and the Joy of Giving (L)
Is your giving a source of joy to you and blessing to others? In the stories below, you’ll meet numerous people who have lived generously and experienced the joy. You’ll also meet others who missed out on the joy of giving. If you have been moved by the testimonies or biographies below, share your brief story with us—so that other Christians might excel in generous giving. Also, you may wish to read a shorter list of key giver stories or comments from givers about Generous Giving.
Rocky Road to Joy: A Woman’s Inability to Out-Give God
Patricia Lloyd Land. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s annual joint conference with the Christian Community Foundation of Kansas City, Overland Park, Kans., May 10, 2002.
Like many in her generation, growing up during the Great Depression caused Patricia Lloyd Land to believe that her wealth was her just reward for her own hard work. Later, she came to understand that all wealth truly comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:18). For many years she and her husband gave indiscriminately to various causes. But when a divorce after 38 years of marriage prompted her to find refuge in God’s word, her giving became more Christ-centered, purposeful and strategic. Today giving is a double blessing for Land, head of the Servants Foundation in Kansas City: On the one hand, she receives great joy from sharing the abundance God gave her; on the other hand, those in need are provided for and their lives are impacted. Through her foundation she has worked with like-minded Christians to share Christ’s love by ministering to others in her hometown.
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The Miraculous Payoff: How a Newlywed Couple Believed God and Started Giving beyond Their Ability
Scott Lee and Amy Lee. Joint testimony shared with Generous Giving, Orlando, Fla., April 2004.
Scott and Amy Lee learned early in their marriage that “the more we give, the more we receive,” for “the Lord will provide.” The Lees’ financial transformation began before their marriage, when Scott sought financial advice on paying off a $26,000 debt. He brought his new financial principles into his marriage with Amy, causing her to change her own liberal spending habits. The couple learned to tithe their incomes and live on Scott’s $47,500 salary, saving most of Amy’s for the future. But when they heard a sermon on giving, their financial priorities were transformed once again. They came to realize that their frugality was driven by fear of the future rather than trust in God. This discovery started them on an exciting, and sometimes scary, adventure toward greater financial freedom and joy. Could the Lees afford to ramp up their giving while slowing down their savings?
From Frugality to Extravagance
Scott Lee and Amy Lee. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s joint regional conference with the Christian Foundation of the Triangle, Village of Pinehurst, N.C., February 17-18, 2006.
Scott Lee was once a worrier who guarded his money with a miser’s frugality, all under what he thought to be the Lord’s blessing. A few years earlier he had incurred a credit card debt of $26,000, which along with other sin problems, led to a divorced marriage and a disordered life. During this period he sought the help of Crown Financial Ministries and learned the concept of financial stewardship. After meeting and marrying his wife, Amy, he continued to live very frugally in order to not incur any future debt, and both believed that they were pleasing God with their financial management. However, as Scott searched his heart, he realized that he was not saving every dime out of generosity but out of fear—fear of the future. After attending a conference on giving, Scott and Amy set aside a fund exclusively for giving, and they began to give up to 23 percent of their income. Since then, the Lees have given in extravagant ways to help people in need, even when this has meant being unsure of their own financial status. They have seen God provide again and again for them in extravagant and even miraculous ways. These days, instead of worrying about future misfortunes, Scott often finds himself wondering, “What about the miracles that are coming in the future?” Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.
In All My Journey
Scott Lee and Amy Lee. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s joint conference with the River Foundation, Lexington, Ky., February 15-16, 2006.
Scott and Amy Lee are middle-income newlyweds who through a simple lifestyle are able to live debt-free and maintain an active “giving account.” Before they met, each had incurred massive credit card debt. Crown Ministries taught Scott how to bring his finances under control until “…five and a half years [later] and the debt is paid off. I’m living with a margin I’d never had before and giving 10 percent and beginning to experience the joy of that for the first time.” Scott passed these lessons along to Amy, helping her understand how to recover from her own past financial mistakes, and soon they were married and planning together using biblical principles of good stewardship. They thought the picture of their financial life was complete until God challenged them to a radically higher level of giving. Drastic changes took place: “The contentment and the peace began to just flood our souls; this is enough, Lord, this is good.” The Lees end their story with many encouraging examples of the fruit that their newfound generosity produced in the lives of others; God continually provides for their needs, no matter how generous they become. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.
Until Debt Do Us Part
Tim Branson. The 700 Club, January 27, 2005.
This segment from the CBN television program tells the unlikely story of a couple who became “radical givers.” Scott Lee had been up to his ears in credit card debt. His use of his credit card had been his was of “ignoring God.” However, as the debt increased to greater proportions, it became difficult to ignore God with his credit card any longer. Turning to a godly financial advisor for help, he assumed some new financial habits. After a few years of frugal living and intentional stewardship, he overcame his debt and became financially stable. However, his new financial habits and frugal lifestyle remained. Lee was remarried in 2003, and his new wife was not entirely accustomed to all of his financial habits. But after attending a conference on giving, both agreed that they should live frugally while committing more of their income to Christ’s kingdom. And this is exactly what they did. “We are richer because of this giving experience, not poorer. Much, much richer.” Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time. However, the Lees have delivered a related testimony.
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Confessions of an Alpha Male Christian
Joseph Leininger. Testimony delivered at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Sarasota, Fla., February 28-March 2, 2002.
Micah 6:8 teaches, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Joseph Leininger has been on an ongoing journey to grasp the truth that “God is the one responsible for my accomplishments.” He testifies of God’s ability to change a proud, competitive man into a humble, submissive vessel for His use. Leininger recalls his days as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the ideal environment for “alpha males” looking for competition and glory. Though he recognized that it was God who had blessed him financially, he had difficulty treating his wealth with humility. He maintained a competitive spirit even when giving his money away. He set good goals—desiring to give $1 billion away during his lifetime—but went about them with the wrong attitude. He has since realized that what is most important to God is that we give humbly, motivated by faith in God and recognition of His mercy, not by selfish desire for glory. This resource is available on compact disc.
Lessons from the Pit: A Successful Veteran of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Shows Executives How to Thrive in a Competitive Environment
B. Joseph Leininger with Terry Whalin. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1999.
How can ethics and the scramble for big money peacefully co-exist? When personal values clash with industrial expectations, which side should be the victor? Is it possible to be both a devout Christian and a highly successful futures trader? Joseph Leininger has the answers to these and other important questions on how to make it in the money business while keeping the heart on heavenly matters. In this 1999 book, he shares the important life-lessons learned over a fast and successful career in the Eurodollars pit of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—a place that “offers one of the most dramatic, unpretentious stages for a morality play in modern business.” Read a review of this book.
Giving as a Couple
Joseph Leininger. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s professional advisors’ summit, Colorado Springs, Colo., August 23-24, 2001.
Joseph Leininger, a former floor trader in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, gives a personal testimony about giving as a couple. Leininger recalls wanting to get his wife “on board” with giving preferences when the Lord confronted him about his own pride and competitiveness. He encourages married givers to focus more on taking their spouses into consideration when making decisions about giving and to give as a couple. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.
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A Picture Story on Industrial Chaplaincy
Zions Herald, March 14, 1945.
Depression-era businessman R.G. LeTourneau (1888-1969) understood the importance of stewarding one’s work and influence for the advancement of God’s kingdom. The earthmoving machinery entrepreneur said of his various factories, “We are seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and he adds all the rest.” LeTourneau’s goal was “to create an atmosphere that will be conducive to Christian living,” realizing that there cannot be any “respecting of persons” in the workplace. He recognized that from top to bottom, “as an industrialist, he ... cannot exist without the group.” Says this article’s intrigued author: “This is a revolutionary idea! People have used religion for centuries as a sort of ‘personal pleasure,’ but here is a down-to-earth plan that puts religion into the everyday living of mankind.” Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.
R.G. LeTourneau: Moved by God to Move Men and Mountains
Rick Williams. Business Reform 2, no. 4 (July/August 2002).
R.G. LeTourneau (1888-1969) was mostly responsible for equipping the Allied invasion of Normandy with machinery during World War II. His life was changed by the realization that he could serve God as a businessman. LeTourneau’s first business went bankrupt, sending him into debt by $5,000, a large sum in his day. However, a pastor friend told him that God needed businessmen as well as pastors. Eventually he found a construction job and became successful. Amidst his success, LeTourneau remembered God’s faithfulness and gave 90 percent of his earnings to Christian endeavors. LeTourneau lived by the statement, “If you’re not serving the Lord, it proves you don’t love him; if you don’t love him, it proves you don’t know him.”
Mover of Men and Mountains: The Autobiography of R.G. LeTourneau
R.G. LeTourneau. Chicago: Moody Press, 1972.
This autobiography relates the story of how one entrepreneur used his extraordinary business skills and creativity to further the missionary work of the Great Commission and the cultural mandate to cultivate both the natural world and the dignity of human beings created in the image of God. An eminent 20th-century innovator in the world of manufacturing and construction, LeTourneau tithed 90 percent of his personal and business income to the Lord’s work, establishing a foundation and a liberal arts and technical college, as well as making significant contributions to expanding the work of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and Christian Business Men’s Committee. Especially helpful is his discussion of bearing a gospel witness to his employees not by instituting mandatory chapel programs or Christian-only hiring practices but, rather, by diligently promoting a biblical work ethic at every level of his operation. “In that kind of atmosphere your toughest roughneck is very apt to find Christ himself, and then you’ve got something.”
The Partnership: The Story of R.G. LeTourneau
From “Giving Warriors: Inspirational Stories of Men and Women Who Experienced the Joy of Giving.” Chattanooga, Tenn.: Generous Giving, 2003.
The father of modern earth-moving equipment, R.G. LeTourneau, was among the few men who amassed a fortune during the Great Depression. He did this in spite of his unconventional—some would say ridiculous—business practices, including giving away company profits and giving workers Sundays off while production lagged behind schedule. His entire professional life was molded by a hard but rewarding partnership with the Lord Jesus Christ, the true owner of his company. This resource is available on DVD and streaming media.
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Interview with Lyle Dorsett
Lyle Dorsett. Interview by Chip Duncan recorded for the documentary “The Magic Never Ends: The Life and Work of C.S. Lewis,” Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton (Ill.) College, August 2000.
C.S. Lewis is known the world over for his delightful Chronicles of Narnia. Much attention, too, has been given to his personal life, particularly his Christian practice. In this interview with Lyle Dorsett, the prestigious C.S. Lewis scholar recounts Lewis’ remarkable Christian generosity. “There is a huge amount of money being made off of Lewis’ writings today. It was not that large when he was alive; however, it was substantial. But the way he dealt with it is [that] he had an Agape Fund. ... Lewis put most of his royalties in that fund, and he gave that money away.”
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Choosing to Give the Rest to the Lord: My Journey of Faith
Scott Lewis. Testimony delivered at the annual Generous Giving Conference, Atlanta, Ga., January 14-15, 1999.
For years, Scott Lewis had felt that business was a ball and chain. He wanted to make his life count for God, yet so many hours of his day were spent in deal making that seemed to have no real impact for eternity. But today, almost $1 million in donations later, Scott Lewis is experiencing more joy and fulfillment than ever before. Join Lewis and the employees of Scott Machinery in Rancho Cordova, Calif., as they embark on an annual corporate “shopping trip” around the world for opportunities to fund the kingdom of God. This resource also is available on compact disc.
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Investing in Eternity and Struggling with Greed
Terry Looper. Testimony delivered at Generous Giving’s Texas regional conference, San Antonio, Texas, November 5-6, 2004.
At a breakfast in 1986, Terry Looper heard Ohio businessman Stanley Tam tell his story and made it a goal to pursue the same kind of generous spirit that he saw in Tam. Three years later Looper started an energy marketing company that became much more than a startup. He now shares the struggles that he and Doris, his wife of 36 years, have had in giving generously. In particular, Looper shares the process of deciding what amount to give away, struggling to overcome the pride of success, and learning to invest the majority of his income eternally. This testimony is a realistic account of his struggle to deal with greed, pride and the temptation many of us face to seek applause. By giving most of their income away, he and Doris have experienced God’s blessings of joy and good relationships. Note: No downloadable text or audio is available at this time.
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