“Let me get this straight. You want to borrow $10,000 so you can give it away.” J. T. Richardson, a banker
About 1975 my beloved father-in-law gave me his copy of Call to Commitment, Elizabeth O’Connor’s book detailing the early history of The Church of the Saviour. I read it because I trusted his judgement, never dreaming as I did so the major impact it would have on me.
What I do know is that it has provided both my husband Dave and I with the inspiration for living our lives on a level we would never have dreamed of without the example provided by that small band of twentieth-century disciples. The clause of their membership commitment that has had the greatest impact on us reads: “I commit myself, regardless of the expenditures of time, energy, and money to becoming an informed, mature Christian.”
Both of us were in awe of the fact those men and women would borrow money to support the work of the church, never dreaming the time would come when we would do the same ourselves.
That happened in 1996 when it was my privilege to co-chair a capital campaign to build a new sanctuary for our little “bursting-at-the-seams” church. When it was nearing completion our contractor liaison, Bill Chenoweth gave Dave and I a personal tour of the facility.
We were awed by the sanctuary but wondered about the big blank space we saw. “That’s where a big screen will go eventually,” he told us, “but we can’t afford it now because we’ve run out of money. It would cost $10,000 today,” he added, “but the price will almost double to add it later.”
Dave’s response was to tell Bill we’d find the money for it somewhere, but we didn’t want anyone to know where the money came from. Did we have $10,000 in cash? No. Did we have any idea how to get it? Yes.
That’s when our banker said, “Let me get this straight. You want to borrow $10,000 so you can give it away.” “You got it,” we replied.
And we did. The bank gave us the loan and the church got the big screen. It took us quite some time to pay that loan off, but over the years our secret has given us far more than $10,000 worth of satisfaction.
Why am I telling you this now?
Before reading Call to Commitment, I had not recognized giving as a spiritual discipline that can help us grow in our faith, nor did I appreciate how much joy it could add to our lives. Discovering that was a priceless gift I want to share with you.
Blessings on your efforts to embrace the spiritual discipline of giving,