By Mike Evans
Many years ago, at the very beginning of our ministry, we were living in Texas and working with young Jewish people who were struggling with addiction and other issues. Many of them came from New York, and God began to burden my heart to work with them there, rather than waiting for them to come to Texas. I went home one day and told Carolyn, “God has told me to buy a training center in New York City to assist Jewish kids coming off of drugs. I believe it will cost a million dollars, and I don't know where we will get the money.”
A Child’s Faith
Our total income the year before was $4,500. When I said I had no idea where the money would come from, I meant it. I didn't have any resources. We were barely surviving. But we were happy in serving the Lord!
Our oldest daughter, Michelle, was five years old. She heard this conversation, and she said, “Daddy, I've got a million dollars in my piggy bank.” She went to her room and came back with her little bank. “I will give you the money. It's here in my piggy bank!” I had tears in my eyes as we broke that bank open and counted out what was inside. It was $3.26. Faith rose up in my heart. I took that money to the bank and opened an account to buy the training center. The teller asked me if I were crazy. He thought I had mental problems. I told him what God was going to do, and he laughed. He assured me the money would not be coming in. “You can't pray money in, Reverend. You need to see a counselor!”
Faith Yields Dividends
Every day, I went to our center in Texas and prayed and fasted for a miracle. Sixteen weeks later, we deposited the final funds in the bank to reach the total of one million dollars so we could buy the building we needed. The banker apologized to me, but
"I knew the real secret: Michelle's holy offering—her childish act of faith and radical generosity—had touched the heart of God and moved His hand to action."
Through the years, I have seen God richly bless those who have given generously to His work. When we give, we are not meeting a need God has. Everything already belongs to Him. When we give we are expressing our faith. When we cling to everything we have, it really says that we do not trust God to meet our needs. A hoarding heart robs the owner of the opportunity to see God's power displayed. It is only when we open our wallets and our hearts—both are vital—that we put ourselves in position to see God do things that are impossible to explain apart from His power.
Trusting God in Everything
I often say, “You can't out give God,” and it’s true. I can testify to that truth from experiences over and over again in my life. But, too often, we only think of this truth in monetary terms, though it goes far beyond that. The giving spirit deals with every part of our lives. Radical generosity is giving, not because of law or commandment or reward, but because of love and trust. The Creator responds to our gifts freely given.
First and foremost, God wants the gift of you—your time, your knowledge, your gifts, your expertise. An old preacher once said, “Does God want your money? Yes. But God also wants the billfold your money is in, the pants the billfold is in, and the man in the pants!” The most radical givers have given their lives for the cause of Christ. Some spend their lives as missionaries at home or abroad. Others spend their talents—singing, praying, preaching, encouraging, baking cookies, ministering to the homeless—for His glory.
All of the disciples were martyred for their faith except John, who survived intense persecution before witnessing the great revelation of End-Time events while in exile on the island of Patmos. The days of Christians dying for their faith are not ancient history—they are happening right now. The choice of being faithful or denying the Lord is not made in a single moment of crisis, but in a lifetime of decisions. Radical generosity means being willing to give everything that we have to God.