This past week, I received a note from a good friend, Steve Hinderhofer reporting to us the progress being made in the class he is teaching, Financial Peace University. Steve and Mary have been leading this class for several years and have led a class in Grundy Center where they live. This is a part of Steve’s report:

“We just finished week 5 of Financial Peace University. We have four couples in the class, and one single gal. They are doing great, and we have had some wonderful conversations. We just finished a class here in Grundy Center. Over the 9 weeks, the 12 families that took the class managed to pay off ten thousand dollars in debt and save 20,000 dollars into their bank accounts. They also managed to cut up 15 credit cards. I look forward to being able to share some numbers from the class at Heartland Vineyard by December. Perhaps we can teach another class in the spring as well. Thanks again for the support and the privilege of teaching this class.”

When a family decreases debt and increases savings while at the same time learns to honor God in their financial stewardship; peace, joy and confidence are released into their lives. In our culture, that’s massive gains in becoming a fully devoted disciple of Jesus. Here’s why.

When you begin to feel the relief from the pressure of debt, the security which comes from having savings and the joy in knowing we are responding to God in a joyous way, we can be what we were meant to be…GENEROUS.

It’s no coincidence that the root word of miserable is miser. We actually feel pain when we can’t be generous like God made us to be. There is something deep within us that desires, even craves to be generous.

Bob and Mugs (Margaret) Barnes are two delightful people who call Heartland Vineyard their church home. All through the year, Mugs puts together boxes of gifts for children all over the world, boxes that will be delivered by Samaritans Purse into third world nations on Christmas. Children who have literally nothing receive a gift at Christmas and so precious are the gifts that even the boxes the gifts come in become values possessions.

Mugs took Roi Lene and me to their house and in the dining room, surrounding their dining room table were 600 boxes wrapped and ready to ship. Mugs led a “Packing Party” at our church and from the donations and joyous work of dear ones in our church, hundreds more boxes were prepared. From our church alone, nearly 1,000 children living in desperate poverty will realize that Jesus is a loving and generous God who deeply cares about them personally. It was interesting to me that Bob and Mugs were not at all concerned that they had nowhere to sit for their meals. Even though their dining room was literally filled with boxes, there was a real and palpable joy in their hearts.

As we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, be aware of the needs of people all around you. We can’t meet every need but there are some we can step into. Some of the deepest needs can be met without spending a dime. You might want to consider how to establish traditions of giving and generosity over the holidays that demonstrate to your family that truly, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also be aware that for the last 10 years, we at Heartland Vineyard have given away an entire week’s tithe at Thanksgiving and we give away offerings taken on Christmas Eve and Good Friday. These offerings go to local, national and international needs and we will be announcing to our church where these financial gifts will specifically go this year.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He GAVE…

We have a Heavenly Father who modeled for us what life really looks like. Part of real, authentic abundance of life is generosity.