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Sixteen years ago I was in a very different place in life than I’m in today.

I was the single mom of a precocious two-year old daughter who kept me on my toes. We belonged to a small evangelical church and I remember picking her up one Sunday from her Sunday school class and from the backseat of our Blazer she sang, “God loves a cheerful giver. Second Co-win-fians 9:7.”  Her amazing Sunday school teachers were committed to planting God’s Word in the hearts of their young charges regardless of their age, and this momma was thankful.

That morning, I had slipped into the pastor’s office when only the worship team was on site. I told him that I needed prayer as I’d just received another huge bill from my attorney and didn’t know how I was going to pay bills and cover the attorney fees. I wasn’t asking for money, but I was asking for a band of brothers and sisters to pray. You see, I was divorced the previous year after pornography ensnared my husband and he chose not to fight back or fight for our marriage. Now we were embroiled in another devastating legal battle, which not only broke my heart, but broke me financially – not to mention the heartbreak that Jesus experienced.

After the service, a gentleman handed me a folded paper and said, “God told me to do this.” He slipped what was obviously a check into my hand and walked down the aisle, saying nothing more.

I remembered the exchange as Kadi and I drove home, and I listened to her belting out, “God loves a cheerful giver. Second Co-Win-fians 9:7!” I dug into my purse and pulled out what was obviously a check. At a stoplight, I unfolded it.

$1000.00

I will never forget. I think often of that generous, sacrificial gift … of that old friend and brother-in-Christ.

That was sixteen years ago and I learned a beautiful lesson of what it means to love like Jesus – to give sacrificially, even if it’s not financial giving. We all have gifts, talents, skills, and time that can be generously shared with others. If God has blessed us with financial resources, then we can give that too.

Take a look at the verse Kadi was learning and what follows it … (2 Corinthians 9:5-15)

You must each decide in your heart how much to give.
And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.
“For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
And God will generously provide all you need.
Then you will always have everything you need
and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.
In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources
and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

Yes, you will be enriched in every way
so that you can always be generous.
And when we take your gifts to those who need them,
they will thank God.
So two good things will result from this ministry of giving
—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met,
and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God.
For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove
that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.
And they will pray for you with deep affection
because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.
Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

I’ve been blogging the last three Mondays about Tiny Hands International. They have an incredible initiative called Verse 11, which is built on the verse I put in bold print above.

Do you want to make a difference every day?

Become a VERSE 11 partner

$11 per month = Freedom
for those who need it most

One of the greatest challenges Tiny Hands faces is making sure resources are available to those who need them—when they need them. This ministry is intercepting very young girls who are being taken from Nepal and sold into the sex trade industry. They also provide homes for little ones who would otherwise be on the street and at risk of being trafficked.

To answer this challenge, we are asking friends like you to become VERSE 11 partners. Through your ongoing generosity of $11 per month, you can stand with fellow VERSE 11 partners to give freedom to the women and children who need it most.

Friends, far be it from me to ever manipulate or shame someone into giving. That’s a Holy Spirit issue. He’s in the business of calling us to God’s purposes. He’s in the business of equipping us to act like Christ and do God works (rather than good works) when it wouldn’t occur to us to act as such on our own. But, may I point something out? Many of us drop more than $11 a week (let alone $11 a month) on frivolous things like a trip to the candy bar vending machine, a can of pop, or a single visit to our favorite barista. I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it.

Generous, sacrificial giving.

We can all do this by the power of the Spirit in us.

Do you have a gift? Use it for the benefit of a ministry … Are you a writer, a musician, an artist, a terrific cook? Give it away generously – sacrificially.

The Christian band, VOTA, has done this. They are giving away downloads from their incredible album, “Love Found Me,” with the donation of any amount to Tiny Hands International …