Have you ever experienced the awesome impact of sacrificial giving? Not like "letting someone have the last appetizer you shared at a restaurant" kind of sacrifice (although that is real). I mean the kind of generosity where someone is pouring themselves out to really make a difference for something bigger than themselves. It has been so great to witness this firsthand at White Oak. The incredible generosity I’ve seen just in the last few weeks within our church family still amazes me:
Hundreds of volunteers selflessly dedicating their time to serve our community on Sundays and advance White Oak's mission.
Those signing up for mission trips here and beyond Cincinnati.
Stories I’ve seen of our community making challenging commitments to Shaken.
And just this past Monday I saw several adults who were giving a week of their time to support and minister to our high schoolers attending CIY MOVE.
These acts of generosity never get old and always leave a mark on me. Through these kinds of experiences, I believe we gain a deep understanding of generosity, its impact on God's Kingdom, and its powerful alignment with leading people to a full life in Jesus.
I’m reminded of 1 Chronicles 29 when King David is gathering materials for the temple in Jerusalem. Even though his son would end up building the temple, that didn’t stop David from collecting resources for the construction which kicked off several events:
David leads first in giving even more than what he had originally set aside for the construction.
The tribes and leaders of Israel respond with giving more than they probably thought possible.
Everyone was amazed and rejoiced at how freely they were able to give.
The part that always sticks with me is when David prays to God “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14). David knew that with everything that he and the people had, that none of it was really theirs. I think we often can think that what I’ve achieved and gained is somehow solely due to my decisions. That the lifestyle I’ve achieved, the jobs I’ve had or the relationships I’ve cultivated are just because I earned them. When, in reality, God’s hand has been in all of it and I don’t really own any of it.
It’s this act of release of the things that tend to have a hold on us that I see again and again at White Oak that has had such an impact on me. It’s the time out of their busy lives that people sacrifice for Kingdom impact amidst this hustle culture. It’s the faith that I see played out in stretching financial commitments during these less certain economic times. It’s when I see others making it a priority to reach out at White Oak and in our communities to connect people to full life when we’re constantly being bombarded by information and alternate priorities.
And generosity isn’t just about letting go of what I think is mine. When done freely and with good intent I think that, just like for Israel, generosity can inspire others and can spark genuine connections.. I see this too in stories of people serving each other every week where relationships are formed and where it has an impact within White Oak and out to our communities. When we extend ourselves in this way, we create profound opportunities for authentic relationships to start. So even our acts of generosity can have a ripple effect, a lasting influence, reaching way beyond what we can do alone.
So, I find myself asking where I would fit in this story. Am I being a David leading out in generosity as an example to others? Am I being like the leaders of Israel who answered the call and gave freely? Do I always believe that wealth, achievements and relationships are from His hand? It’s a discipline I continue to pray for because, even though it can be scary, generosity plays such a pivotal role in connecting people to full life in Jesus. And that’s my continued prayer for you too because it’s through our acts of generosity that we can show the transformative power of Jesus, inviting others to embrace the abundant life found in Him.
Sr. Operations Manager
White Oak Christian Church