In this episode, Vance and Zoe discuss some powerful stories of children's generosity, and how churches can make the concept of giving and generosity simple enough for even the littlest minds to comprehend.
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childlike generosity. It's powerful when you give, not only are you releasing what you have, you're also releasing the control of what is done with what you have. Right. Wow. And when you're a kid you don't think about that. A pastor term tech leader and a millennial churchgoer, explore the intersection of technology, culture and faith, equipping you with innovative strategies to support you as you live out your calling leader churches with confidence to step into the future together. This is the give it up podcast. Okay, Vance. So I feel like the church talks often about childlike faith. Yeah, it's beautiful. But I actually want to talk about an offshoot of childlike faith, which is childlike generosity, remix. Remix. Yes. And I actually have to start by sharing my first story of generosity in my life. Because it really, I think, set the tone for how I am as an adult, because I was seven years old. And I had just gone to this new church with my family, and I was in the kids ministry. And up on the screen, they played this video. Now, granted, this is pre TOMS Shoes, okay? They play this video of kids in Haiti without shoes, right? It was like this really moving to three minute video, like, look at the bare feet, look at them running. But I remember like being gripped at seven years old, like looking, looking at my own shoes being like, How is this possible, right? I've never seen another human being without shoes, right? At this point in my life. So I went home that day, because they ended the video by saying, guess what, next week as a kids ministry, we're going to have an opportunity to raise money to buy kids in Haiti shoes. Wow. And I was like, yeah, it's gone. Because I'm like, counting all the shoes I have. And I was like, this is a problem I need. Right? So go home, because you're a sneakerhead at that time. I mean, it was almost prophetic at that point that I would one day be a sneaker. But yes, yeah. So I tell my parents, I'm like, I'm so excited. We're gonna give to this next week. And I'm like, Oh, that's awesome. So I go upstairs, and I go to my piggy bank, which was one of those jumbo Crayola crayons. Yeah. Do you know what these look like? Yeah, of course, they're like, literally four feet tall, which is as tall as me. It's seven. And I popped the cap off of it. And I looked down the barrel. And I'm like, Yeah, that's gonna be perfect. Put it back on. Fast forward a week. That Sunday morning, I shoot wide awake, okay, because I'm so excited because I know what today is. And so I lug my crayon filled with coins down the stairs, and try and go out to the car and my mom stops me. She's like, Oh, my gosh, so what are you do it? I was like, Mom, I'm giving. I'm bringing my piggy bank with me to give for these kids in Haiti. And she's like, well, we don't need to bring the whole crayon. Right. We could put it in a bag. Yeah. Which I was like, I guess that is less extra. So we fill up this like gallon ziplock bag, and it is probably 20 pounds of coins. I mean, this thing was like, busting at the seams. So now I walk into church, like I just robbed a bank of only its coins. And I drop it on the seat, like slide and under my chair, and I'm so pumped for this giving. And then the moment finally comes. And I see I let everybody else go first. Not to cause a scene, of course, is my thinking. So these kids are dropping in like 50 cents. $1 like no doubt, surely what their parents gave them a tie button to get rain. I weighed two then I like carry my 20 pound bag up. And so stupidly, instead of just putting it in there. I opened the bag. Yes, dollar. Coins are shooting everywhere. They're like bouncing off of the bucket. I love it. It's like overflowing, no pun intended one. And the pastor stops the service. Yes, it goes, Wait a second here. What's going on here? He's like, looking right at me. And He hands the mic to me. And I was like, I'm giving for the shoes. And he was like, How much is this? And I was like, It's all that I have. And I found out later it was probably $70 worth of coins that I gave to that. And it literally was all that I have. Wow. Talking about this today. If I was so compelled by a vision and a mission that I drained my bank account. Yeah. It would not be all that I have. Yeah. Because of how wealth is diversified and non cash assets. Yeah, yeah. But it's this concept of kids feeling the security to know I can give everything because my daddy has got me. Yeah, that's okay. No, and I think about stories you tell tell about the story of the kids whenever you guys were raising for the Vive campus. Yeah, I mean, when we were looking to raise $8 million in 45 days. Is we appealed to a few billionaires and we raise zero from them, which was kind of crazy. Yeah. That's another podcast and another story for another day. But it was so crazy because kids in our church, like little girls, starting lemonade stands were raising 1000s of dollars and more generous than some adults in some households. I love that childlike generosity. I mean, it's powerful. It's really, really powerful. That story is powerful. And I was even just getting in the fields a little bit to think that you had that childlike generosity, that childlike faith, to empty everything and even be able to share that testimony in front of the whole church, I'm sure that inspired so many people, and I even just think about the words of Jesus, right? Like, if you want to inherit the kingdom of God, you have to have childlike faith, right. And if you even hinder anything like that, he's actually like, it would be better for you to put something on your neck so heavy that you would float to the bottom of the ocean, which is like, right, I don't know, people think that Jesus was a pacifist, but like, he was pretty savage sometimes. And so I just, I get so impacted by that. I mean, we've seen it in our community. And every time that I reflected, I meditate on this teaching. Every time I interact with it actually happening in real life, I get moved. I get compelled. Why we lost that. That's, that's how, yes, maybe there's more bills. Yes, there's more responsibility for you. But it's almost like the moment that you feel the responsibility is on you. Yeah, you lose that. Yeah. There is an element to where when you are of that age, have that mindset on adulterated by the world. You are in this phase of life where nothing to lose, relatively speaking. Yeah. Right. And so when you step into more responsibility, when you step into more assets, when you step into dependence, you have like actual people that depend on you. Yeah. Yeah, you do, you do have to reckon with the fact that now you have something to lose. And so I think that's part of it. Yeah. I do also think that across developing from child like, NIS, to adolescence to adulthood, there is this progression of jadedness for sure. Yeah, that's you go on. Yeah. I don't know. What what's your experience? Yeah. I mean, I would say that, when you realize that the weight of things getting done now rests on you, and not somebody else. It it really pulls that out of frame. But that's the thing is like, I always try and challenge myself of like, wait, no, it doesn't. No, God, God is in all things. Yes. Not just like some things. If I invite Him into every part of my life, then he's in all things and, but it's really hard to kind of keep grasping that. And quite honestly, I think we make it too complex, right? Like if a seven year old, can be compelled to give everything they have. It was that simple. And it's not like I stand alone in that, like you're talking about these girls, and their lemonade stands like, there was something that children understand about giving. That is not only so inherent, it's so simple. Yeah. And I think of, you know, like companies like Apple who make things simple. Oh, I like that. I have a my best friend's son is two years old, and knows how to FaceTime me. Wow, that's terrifying, actually. But the fact that they can understand green red call hang up. That's pretty crazy. Yeah. How how can the church how can tech companies, how can we create a movement to make generosity and the complex thought of giving simple once again? Yeah, I mean, some of it is actually in the technology, right? It's creating user interfaces. It's creating user experiences that remove the barriers. Yeah. Especially if we want to capitalize on the fact that people interact with their phones, people interact with marketplaces and products already today. Yeah. In a certain way, we shouldn't resist against that we should try to leverage that we should try to leverage all the innovation and technology that had been invested billions and billions of dollars invested by tech companies like Apple to train society in a certain way to be able to get things done on their phone, whether it's work or personal, or purchasing things online. And so as easy as it is to now consume on the internet to consume on an online platform to consume through an app. It should be that easy to be able to give it In overflow are innovating every day, right eventually, and actually not into the far distant future, you're going to be able to give in so many wet Apple Pay Venmo you know, all these things that you're already using in your day to day? Why isn't that present in some of our giving apps and some of our applications that we're inviting people to use to be able to be generous towards our organization? I think the spiritual dynamic is what you said, though, how do we continue to remind people and refresh people, and the fact that it's as simple as that childlike faith, you once had, that childlike faith, if you did come from a good family, and you had trust in your parents, you had a good father, right. And even if you did it, to remind yourself that the reason you're a believer from the first place was because of this revelation that you do have a heavenly Father, a father that has your name reserved at his table, and have a you literally have a reservation at the nicest restaurant. It's called the heaven, like at the most bougie. Like, you know, I heard like, I think the streets are gold, and luminescent. And you know, all that type of stuff like, like, this is like nothing that we've ever experienced. And God has reserved that, but not only reserved it for a time, and a place, and a season and a destination. But even Jesus prayed on earth, as it is in heaven. Yeah, that that the richness and the abundance and the provision and the protection that exists in heaven that we read about exists on earth, as well, that that we have that bridge because of Jesus. And if we can just remind ourselves and refresh ourselves in the simplicity of that fact that, amen, okay. He's not just a father, but he's a good father. Yeah, he's a father that wants to bless me he, I'm not a beggar anymore. There's a story in the New Testament, about a blind beggar at the bottom pretty much of the planet in Jericho, right? Because at that time, I actually even today, it's below sea level. Right? So it's like a blind beggar at the bottom of the planet. Well, he's crying out for Jesus, Jesus, Son of David, would you have mercy on me? Right? He couldn't see. Yeah, he couldn't see. But But But he, he cries out to Jesus and the Son, Son of David Wright, the Son of Man, it's a language used for the Messiah. It's language used for Jesus in this story, the son of man stops in his tracks. And then all of a sudden, the blind beggar makes his way towards Jesus. And, you know, ultimately, if you know this story, he gets healed, right? He takes off his cloak, he runs to Jesus he, he gets healed. What's so interesting about this story is that, you know, Jericho, if you're familiar with this town. It's also the place hundreds of years earlier, where Joshua or Joshua actually circled this town, because it was fortified, and God had promised this town to them. And similar to the blind beggar shouted, right, and we know, in the Old Testament, the walls fall down on the way to their promise. But even within the story of Joshua, there was another moment where they're battling and they're winning. And Joshua prays to God, God, would you would you actually have this stuff son stand still, because we really want to solidify this victory in the first time ever recorded in history. The son stands still. Yeah. What's so crazy about that, that that was literally in the same place that this blind beggar shouts to Jesus, who is the son Joshua, which is in Hebrew, Yeshua, which is another name for Jesus. He yells, and the physical son stands still so they could solidify the victory. Wow. Hundreds of years later in the same place. In Jericho, a blind beggar shouts yells in faith, and the sun Not, not the ash. Namakkal son, but the Son of Man, the Son of God stands still, I don't know what's more of a miracle. If the Sun standing still like literally like the sun in them when the sun is standing still, or the son of man, the Son of God stopping in his tracks, because he cares about a blind beggar, it's powerful. There's nothing that you can do for God to love you more, there's nothing that you can do for God to love you less the same way he can make the sun and the stars stand still, the same way that he can send Jesus to this planet. Yeah, and get stopped in his tracks for a blind beggar is the same way he can provide for your finances. It's that simple, totally. You have a good father, that spans generations that spans circumstances that spans history. And science that spans difficulties and trials, that spans across all of these things. And when he went on that crossed the Bible informs us is that he didn't go there just for an event. He went there to abolish your sin, past, present, and future, so that when He abolished that sin, you could now be a son, you can now be a daughter. It all is that simple. If you actually grab that, and continue to remind yourself and refresh yourselves in that. And you know, that man, my father, he's a good father. He has provision, yeah, he has protection, then you can actually live out not just when you're five, or 10, or 12. But maybe when you're 3555. I hope when I'm 75. I can have childlike generosity, I can have child like, faith, same. And I think one of the big concepts around it that I was just thinking about, as you were talking is releasing control. Because when you give, not only are you releasing what you have, you're also releasing the control of what is done with what you have. Right? Wow. And when you're a kid, you don't think about that. You don't care, you're just like, I just see an issue, I want to meet the need. Like I remember, like one of the first times I saw a homeless person, like when kids see homeless people for the first time, they aren't afraid of them. They're like, Oh, man, someone needs help. It's usually the parents that pull them in tighter, because they're not sure right of the situation. Whereas God is telling all of us, like, Let's go meet the needs like, right, give the control to me, I'll handle the rest. And I think that's, it's really gripping when you think about how often we actually need to practice giving up control. And I love that because you know, a lot of people will hear that and be like, Oh, well, oh, it's because of drugs are hazy. Oh, you know, what they actually do? And you know, at the end of the day, especially if you're a father or a mother, you're a parent. Who cares about your politics in that moment? Right, right. If you have a chance to model to your son to your daughter, that doesn't know anything about anything, why not model generosity, right? Why not just taken up? What's $1 to you? Totally right, what's a couple of bucks in that situation? Because it's so much more than your politics is about the purpose, and what you're trying to develop in the next generation. Absolutely. And even if somebody else isn't impacted by it, you're going to be impacted. There you go. See by being generous, like I remember my brother, when we were on a mission trip to Los Angeles years ago, we saw a homeless person on Hollywood Boulevard. And my brother was adamant because we weren't on the mission trip. We were not allowed to give out physical cash to them. So he's like, Alright, I want to buy this guy a meal. McDonald's was right next door, came up to the guy. He's like, I'm gonna buy you dinner. McDonald's. What do you want? He said, I don't want anything. Yeah, I want money. Yeah, sure. So he's like, Alright, I'm gonna just buy him. Whatever. Yeah, give it to him. puts it down. The man literally gets up, walks into the trashcan, throws an O and puts his sign back up. Okay. And we were all like, so shaken up by this. Like, how does he just like, how disrespectful my brother's like, I don't care. Yeah. It wasn't like, that's not on me. Right? Like God told me to be generous. I'm not paying attention to what the guy told me to do. I'm doing what God told me to do. Good. And I'm like, man, God is telling us. Yeah, to trust Him. God is telling us to give up control. God is telling us to honor with the tide. Yeah. Are we going to choose that obedience? Yeah, it's so good. And you know, if you're leading a church if you're a senior church leader, a pastor executive pastor, I think some of For the times that are leading people, we make things so complex when it's actually so simple, not easy, right? Not easy, right? But the word of God is not meant to be confusing. There is complexity. I mean, the word of God is something that you could be studying your whole life. But there are certain specific and simple truths that might not be easy, but should be taught with as much clarity. And in clarity, there is so much energy, you know, when people get a revelation about something, when when God starts, you know, scaling, the Bible talks about scales on your eyes when those start falling, and you know, somebody gets the simple revelation of grace or, or the simple revelation of generosity, if they just start applying it. And that's the thing, right? We can't just preach at people, we got to make it practical. Yeah. And that's actually what sets people free. Totally. Right. Faith without works is literally James says dead. And so we can't just preach faith, we need to show faith, we need to make it so practicable. So applicable, what we say at our church is we want Sundays to preach to your Mondays, we want this to be something that you leave a Sunday service that you can apply straight in your home, you can apply straight with your family and buy straight with your finances. And I think that's something that we need to go back to a lot of times people think that pastoring is a fancy pulpit and a fancy preach, and you got your alliterated points, and you know, things are flowing and things are rhyming and things are, you know, and and but at the end of the day, if they didn't do it, you didn't build anything. Yeah, if you didn't influence an action, right, if you didn't influence an application, the community literally didn't grow. Yeah, you just had a good stand up comedy routine. And there's nothing wrong and humor and there's nothing wrong and making sure that words flows so that they can be caught and that they can be carried and they can be remembered. I'm all for that. I try to pride myself and working on my craft to be in order. But at the end of the day, what are we building? Yeah, we want to build childlike dependence on God. Yeah. Not creating child dish, Christian, but creating people with childlike faith, to remember that, hey, they have a good father, they have somebody that can supply all of their needs, and sometimes that childlike faith is the most mature thing that you can do. Thanks so much for listening to the give it up podcast if you want to receive even more insights on church innovation, culture and giving. 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