David Pressgrove: Giving more with less to give

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— Thank you Wayne Simien.

I've known for a couple of weeks that I was responsible for this column, and the words of a podcast during my trip home for Christmas gave me an idea, but I couldn't put it together in my head. After reading a story on Simien, a former All-American basketball player for the University of Kansas, it all came together.

The idea-giving podcast was a sermon from Mark Driscoll, pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Driscoll quoted a Seattle Times story that the city's Toys for Tots had received about $3,000 in donations and 5,000 toys compared to $100,000 and 50,000 toys from last year. Because of forecasted bad times, people's generosity had dropped dramatically.

Driscoll encouraged his congregation to go against the grain. He read from 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 in which Paul wrote about the church of Macedonia. The church's people were experiencing a terrible economic recession, yet Paul saw abundant joy and great generosity from them.

Paul wrote about this to the Corinthians because they were tightening up during tough times. Paul reminded them that everything they had was really God's and the reason the Macedonians had abundant joy was because they were being good stewards of what wasn't really theirs.

Driscoll challenged his congregation to look at their heart for giving. He said, "You will either be a lover of money and user of people, or a lover of people and a user of money."

Enter Simien. I read a story about the former Jayhawk (I grew up 15 minutes from the Kansas University campus, and I'm still a bit obsessed). At the end of the story Simien was asked about his New Year's resolution and he said: "The state of the U.S. economy has a lot of people worried and has led people to save for themselves and not give both of their time and finances. : Instead of raising our standard of living, we want to raise our standard of giving. It is better to give than receive: Acts 20:35."

A couple of weeks ago, I helped to put away the food donated to the local food pantry during KRAI's annual Holiday Drive. They barely had room for all of the food donated, which was good because from what I heard, the need for food had doubled since last year.

Those two nights I was encouraged by the generosity of Craig. I hope we can all search our hearts this year and believe the principals of giving. There might not be a Biblical formula promising a direct proportion of giving to prosperity, but it's been my experience in life that when I'm generous it has always cashed in for gains in the bank of abundant joy.

David Pressgrove is the area director of Moffat County Young Life.

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