By: Alex Ellis, VFA Co-President and Founding Partner
Several years ago, Adam and Melissa Murray had an experience with God that had a lasting impact on them and their kids.
They were a young married couple and finances were tight as they lived paycheck-to-paycheck each month. They had two young children, and Melissa was pregnant with number three.
Fear seemed to hang in the air anytime they discussed the idea of giving. Adam’s job was commissions-based and he worked in an industry that was seasonal, and they were in the lowest part of their sales year. But they kept sensing God leading them to give financially. They thought, What if the sales don’t come? How will we make it?
Then, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit just before Christmas, 2004. The media played devastating images day after day of people who were destitute.
Adam remembers, “After seeing all those people in such great need, we stopped asking how we could give and started asking, How can we NOT give?”
They decided to take a step of faith. In early January, they gave $400 to Billy Graham’s tsunami relief efforts. The amount wouldn’t seem large to some people, but this was a vast amount to them, especially while sales were down.
After they gave, Melissa told Adam, “When I pray, I keep sensing God might want us to give to Him all your commissions income above our normal expenses the first good month of this year. Our first fruits.” They grappled with this, but finally both agreed to trust God and give this second gift by faith.
They got through February with income from their tax return. Then, Adam’s sales took off like a rocket on March 4, 2005, three weeks before the others on the sales team saw an increase from the new season. By the end of June, Adam had already sold as much as he did the whole 2004 calendar year! He set new records for himself and became the top sales rep in his region with 45 other sales reps.
They learned that God can be trusted when they follow His lead.
I asked them if they believe God will always bless financially, because some preachers are known for that teaching. Adam said, “Sometimes, God rewards us financially, and sometimes not. Sometimes He rewards us instead with opportunities, relationships, joy, spiritual growth, closeness with Him, peace of mind, and other important things in life. And He saves the greatest reward for when we will stand before Him in Heaven. Hebrews 11:6 tells us we can be absolutely certain God WILL reward us!”
Adam and Melissa went on to pursue giving as a normal way of life. Some gifts were small (like $5 to a homeless person) and some were large. But what affected their family most was the culture, because giving became frequent and normal.
Their kids are nearly grown now. When they describe what values they want in their lives, they put giving near the top of the list.
Their daughter told me, “Our family gives. It’s what we’ve always done. It’s influenced me to be a giving person with my friends and with strangers. When I see a person in need, I notice them. And I begin to wonder how to respond to them. I plan to always be a giver.”
*Names have been changed at the request of the individuals in this article. They prefer their generosity remains anonymous.