A LESSON ON GIVING
As I sat down to write this message to you, I felt a degree of hesitation. This is a sensitive topic, and most of all, I want you to understand my heart in sharing this message with you.
For me, tithing and giving is a big part of my life. And I rarely talk about it because I believe it’s between God and me and the people to whom God leads me to give. It’s not a public affair.
But I also believe that there is a time and place to speak about it publicly, and I believe this is only to be done when it serves Spirit. And now is one of those times.
So, let me share with you this story, because I believe it is a story that will lead to greater and more significant impact than if I was to keep it to myself.
This story really begins with my Retention Staff Team. At the John Maxwell Team, we have members come on board who select a payment plan to cover their investment in becoming a John Maxwell Team Member.
I think we all know, and have probably experienced in one way or another, that sometimes life shows up. And when life shows up, our plans tend to go out the window. Our priorities have to shift. And sometimes that means missing a payment. These are good people. But life shows up.
So, I have a dedicated team who works with our members who are in collections, to help them find a path to re-engaging and to connect back to their dream and their original purpose for joining the John Maxwell Team. And my retention team does a phenomenal job of encouraging our members who are going through a tough time, and who need a little extra help along the way.
I meet with my team periodically to review numbers. And what I have come to realize about numbers is that the stories behind the numbers are the most important thing.
And there are many many stories that my retention team hears about every day. Stories of struggle and overcoming struggle. Stories of grief and loss and finding one’s way through that. Stories of perseverance.
And so when someone falls behind on a payment, one of my staff reaches out and connects and explores how we can help them move forward.
Some people fall behind because they give up on their dreams. They get the math wrong between intention and commitment. This may have been the first time they made a commitment to themselves to pursue growth, and then when they start to take the steps to live into that commitment, they give up.
I don’t know how many of us have bought gym equipment or gym memberships and never used them.
Or maybe you were going to learn Spanish, and you bought the programs, and they just sat on your shelf. I know I have. I didn’t live into my intention and I didn’t follow through on my commitment. The space between intention and commitment is a big one, and it has to be filled with purpose.
If you have intention and no purpose, you’ll never follow through on the commitment.
But then there are others for whom life shows up, and they persist! They keep going! They hold tight to that vision and that dream that they have for their own lives and the way they will impact others! I believe these people on the Team are the true heroes.
And I want to tell you about one of these individuals, whose story I just learned about from my retention team.
Let’s call him George.
George signed up for the John Maxwell Team back at the beginning of this year with the intention of attending the upcoming August IMC Event. He started on a payment plan that would have him set to be paid in full in time to come to this event. He bought his plane ticket back in February, because he knew the price would only go up, and he was committed to going. He was going to be traveling from another continent, leaving his country for the first time. Because his intention was fueled by the purpose of his vision, he took deliberate steps of commitment.
At some point a few months later, he ran up against some financial challenges and he had to pause his payments for a time. My team was in touch with him and helping him figure out how to move things forward.
And then about 4 weeks ago, my team received a phone call from him. His deep voice resounded through the phone… “Christine, I have bad news. I do not know what to do. My house just burned down; my wife is in the hospital in ICU with severe burns. My laptop has been destroyed. And I still have the remaining balance to pay in order to get to the August IMC. How do I make this work?”
Step by step, Christine walked him through the process. She offered to reschedule his certification event to March 2020, but he said, no, he had to come in August. He just couldn’t afford to lose the money he had spent on his flight.
He said he had talked to his wife, and together, they had decided he still needed to come. This is his dream. This is his future. This is his purpose. He has been working towards this for months and even years.
He had no place to live – he was staying in his wife’s room at the hospital. Most of his belongings had been destroyed in the fire. But through it all, what he knew was that he wasn’t going to give up on his dream.
He also had to wait the long process of visa application to even travel the United States. And as my team was telling me his story last week, they shared with me the exciting news that his visa was just approved a few days ago, and he and his wife are in agreement that, against all odds, he is coming to the IMC Event to follow through on his commitment so that he can live out his purpose.
Can you even imagine?
Seriously, can you even begin to put yourself in his shoes? I don’t know how many people would have the fortitude and the commitment to carry on given the circumstances and conditions that have shown up in his life.
But as I heard his story, I knew that I could make his way a little easier. I could help to remove some of the pressure that he was facing.
One of the things I have learned in my tithing practice is to give in two ways: where I am fed and where I am led.
There are many people who “feed” me, who support me, who stand by me. And I am very intentional about being a vessel through which God can lavish his love on these individuals through my tithing practice.
And then I allow God to also “lead” me. I listen to his voice and when he says “give,” that is what I do.
Oftentimes, people will say they don’t know where they are being led. They lack the gift of discernment, and they don’t feel that they are able to determine God’s voice in their life.
And so, my message to you is to just take some time and look around you. I don’t believe it’s an accident that my team shared George’s story with me. You see, there are times when we witness a need. We see the need and we feel compassion, but we choose not to do anything.
And in those moments, you need to ask if it’s an accident that you learned of this need. Perhaps you saw a homeless person passing by one day. Perhaps you got into a conversation with another mom at the school while you were picking your kids up, and she started to share about some of the struggles she was facing.
Was that an accident, or was that God speaking to you?
Some people literally hear the voice of God. But for most of us, we hear the voice of God in the needs of other people. That’s God’s voice. And it’s His voice speaking to you.
My encouragement to you is that if you do not already engage in the practice of tithing, that you consider it.
This story is not about me being a nice guy, or me being a hero. If anything, I’m simply being obedient. And that’s what tithing is all about. It’s about a personal relationship with God and being obedient to where He is leading you with His resources.
I was able to make George’s trip and his life a little bit easier. I was able to pick up the burden for him. No expectations. No trade. It was simply me hearing God’s voice in a conversation.
Chances are, George had asked God for help. He’d asked God for a sign that He was still with him. He’d asked God for a sign that everything would be okay.
The amount of money you give doesn’t really matter. But when you give, it activates a level of hope, belief, and faith. As crazy and counter-intuitive as it sounds, it also activates a level of self-reliance and empowerment, the feeling that they can make it through this.
No one can make it alone. Not you, not me, not George, not any of us, but together we can.
And it’s your act of giving, whether that’s $5 to the homeless man, a $20 rotisserie chicken to the single mom… it’s your act of giving that restores their faith. It gives them just enough fight.
A while ago, I recorded a lesson called “Be a Blessing to the World.” Here is a link to this recording that will help you think about how you can be an agent of change in this world, doing God’s work. It doesn’t have to be hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a difference.
You see, God, Cosmic Power, Source, the Universe (however you identify and call it doesn’t matter), doesn’t recognize size. It recognizes intent. It registers the goodness of the act.
I have traveled around the world, and I have worked in many different countries, even just in the last few months, and I’ve learned and seen that, more than ever, God’s people all over the world need to be united. We are all God’s people, and we are more divided than ever before. There is a perversion and an evil that has us picking sides. Republican vs. Democrat. White vs. Black. Gay vs. Straight.
It was Nietzsche who spoke about how we are all programmed with the illusion of our separateness. Instead, we need to operate from the awareness of our oneness.
So, go be a blessing and be a world changer.
When you listen to this lesson, you will hear me promote another program, and I have purposefully deactivated the link to that program, so you are not able to buy it. Don’t bother emailing admin about it. The purpose of me sending you this message and this lesson is not to make money off of doing God’s work in any way.
I believe in you and I believe in your dream!!
Hold Your Image!!