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Count Your Blessings - A Pathway to Greater Joy and Generosity
 

 "MAXIMUM Generosity" -  21st Century Biblical Generosity Resources and Training ( www.kluth.org )

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Click here to see as a: PDF Printable Flyer    This article is also available as a flyer for distribution in churches.   (click here to get more info about using this flyer in your church or ministry)  The flyer tells the story of how anyone can increase their giving 2-3 times based on Brian's example of how he and his wife learned to "count their blessings" in order to increase their giving to the Lord. 

Count Your Blessings

A secret to more joyful and generous giving and living

“On the first day of each week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper.”  I Cor 16:2

By Brian Kluth, pastor, natl-intl generosity speaker, author & radio commentator (www.kluth.org)

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MAXIMUM Generosity
Brian Kluth
5201 Pinon Valley
Colo Springs, CO 80919
Cell: 719-930-4000   Email: bk@kluth.org               Web: www.kluth.org

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Can you relate to any of the following?

  • Have you ever felt you didn't have enough income to make ends meet?

  •  Have you ever been frustrated or wearied by the number of appeal letters you've received in the mail?

  •  Have you ever been confused about how much money you should give to the Lord's work?

  •  Have you ever felt guilty that you weren’t able to give fully and faithfully to your local church because of other financial commitments made to individual missionaries, Christian workers, organizations, or special projects?

  •  If you are married, do you wish you and your spouse agreed more on how much, when, and where to give your money to the Lord's work?

  •  Do you wish you had extra funds to give to special needs?

      Several years ago, I was feeling many of the frustrations mentioned above when I came across the following portion of scripture:  “ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK LET EACH ONE OF YOU LAY SOMETHING ASIDE, STORING UP AS HE MAY PROSPER." I Cor l6:2 (KJV).

     I will never forget the Sunday after I found this verse. I asked my wife Sandi to sit down with me so that we could 'COUNT OUR BLESSINGS" She gave me a puzzled look and asked, "What do you mean, 'count our blessings'?" I told her I wasn't sure what I meant, but that I Cor. 16:2 implied that as Christians God wants us to take time on the first day of each week and look back over the last seven days to see how He has provided for us then gratefully lay aside funds that we can use to give to His work.  "God wants us to take time on the first day of each week to see how He 's pro vided for us--then gratefully lay aside funds that we can use to give to His work."

     So, with pencil and paper in hand, we sat down and began to reflect back on the previous seven days. Obviously, the first item and amount we wrote down was our salary check from the Christian organization where we were on staff.

UNCOVERED BLESSINGS

            We remembered we had gone to dinner with friends and they picked up the tab; we had received a birthday gift of cash; and I had received an honorarium from a speaking engagement. We wrote all these items down one by one. As we thought more, I remembered I had been looking to buy a used 5-speed bike. My secretary's family had one they no longer used and they decided to give it to me at no cost.

            After writing all of these items down, we were surprised to find we had a list of tangible provisions in addition to my salary. We thanked the Lord for these "blessings" and decided to go back and assign a dollar value to each item: $50 for what I had been willing to spend on a bike, $15 for the birthday gift of cash, $20 in savings when the other couple bought our dinner, $25 speaking honorarium, and $40 for some other items.

            We totaled these items up and discovered that these "blessings" amounted to $150! So we decided to take 10% of the $150 in blessings and send it as our monthly support for one of the missionaries we supported for $15 a month. We then gave the full 10% of my normal salary to our local church.

THE LIST CONTINUED TO GROW

            The next Sunday we again sat down to count our blessings. At first we didn't think anything had happened and were ready to give up. Then we recalled a few items Sandi had bought on sale and some items I received free from work. When we added up the amounts almost $120 in unnoticed blessings had occurred. So we took $12 (10% of our "blessings") and started a BLESSINGS FUND. Each week we began to set aside money according to what had happened during the previous week. Then when we had missionaries or special needs we wanted to support, we were able to use our Blessing Fund monies.

EVEN BIG THINGS HAPPENED

            Occasionally there were even some big things that occurred. One time we needed to buy a car and some friends of ours sold us a car they had for $2000 instead of the $3000 they could have gotten for it! Because of this $1000 savings, we were able to give an extra $100 to the Lord's work through our Blessings Fund.  We normally would have never noticed these "blessings" (and certainly not acknowledged them in extra giving) if we had not applied the verse in I Cor. 16:2 and sat down together each Sunday to consciously look back over the previous week.

            Through "counting our blessings" we found we were able to give a full 10% of my salary to our local church and still have plenty of additional funds to give to missionaries, people in need, and to Christian causes and organizations.

A STARTLING DISCOVERY

            While working on our income tax reports I found that my salary for the year had been $15,000. When looking over our list of contributions I found we had given $1500 to our local church. Then, when I added up the additional monies we gave from our "Blessings Fund", my calculator showed that we had given another $2500 to missions, special needs, and Christian organizations I thought, "That can't be right; there must be something wrong with my calculator!"  But when I went through our weekly blessings list from the year's 52 Sundays, I was astounded to discover that the "blessings" we had written down (beyond our normal salary) added up to $25,000! We really had given an extra $2,500 to the Lord's work in addition to the $1,500 to our local church! I was amazed to think that we gave $4000 to the Lord's work on a $15,000 salary'! We went into the year wondering how we would even be able to make ends meet. But by "counting our blessings" Sunday by Sunday our eyes were opened to the many ways the Lord was caring for us. It was from this spirit of gratefulness that we gladly and joyfully passed along 10% of these blessings, savings, unexpected income, and cash to the Lord's work. As we thought about it, we also realized that God had actually given us a $40,000 a year lifestyle on a $15,000 salary!

            The next year we continued the practice of "counting our blessings" each week. At the end of the year my salary had been $17,000, we had given $1700 to our local church, and had given another $5000 to other Christian causes! The following year we gave an extra $6000 to the Lord's work over and above giving 10% of my salary to our local church. Each year, this practice of counting our blessings weekly and laying aside extra giving money in a Blessings Fund was enabling us to cheerfully double and triple what we normally would have given to the Lord's work.

            Many times it seemed foolish to keep giving like this, yet we were so grateful for the many savings, blessings, and extra money the Lord was providing for us that we joyfully and cheerfully gave a portion back to Him. We gave not because we had to, but because we wanted to. Some people say that we should "give to get," but the Lord was showing us that the best way to give was to clearly see what He's given you -- and then to generously, joyfully, and cheerfully set aside a portion to give back to Him!

AN OLD HYMN

            The familiar words of the hymn, "Count Your Blessings" come to mind: "Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings and see what God has done."  How liberating and exciting this can be for anyone who truly begins to practice this truth according to I Cor. 16:2.   It's my prayer that you would begin to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS EACH WEEK AND START A "BLESSINGS FUND" TO HELP YOU BE MORE JOYFUL AND GENEROUS IN YOUR GIVING TO THE LORD'S WORK.

There's no telling the wonderful things that may begin to occur in your life, your church, and the people and ministries you'll be able to support through this exciting practice.

RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR

“COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS”

Here are some important things I've learned to help identify the Lord's tangible provisions and blessings in your life each week:

l. Try to count your blessings as a family, couple, or individual at a similar time each week with a pen and paper (or notebook) in hand. Sandi and I look back over the week every Sunday night before going to bed and now have a notebook full of hundreds of entries of how God has cared for us over the past several years over-and-above our normal income.

2. Think back over the following areas and write down anything that comes to your remembrance:  

  • MAIN INCOME?  If you were paid during the week, write down the amount. We always used  my income here and put any second income or extra income in our blessings fund. We've then given 10% of my regular income to our local church.

  • ADDITIONAL OR UNEXPECTED CASH?  Gifts, overtime, bonuses, 2nd salary, investment returns, sale of any item, refunds, inheritance,. etc..

  • PEOPLE'S HOSPITALITY?  Meals, lodging, entertainment, etc.

  • SPECIAL HELP OR ASSISTANCE? Help with car or house repairs, emergencies, use of equipment, free babysitting, etc.

  • DISCOUNT AND SALE ITEMS? Clothing, household items, garage sales/thrift shop savings, car items, tools, furnishings, recreation, etc.

  •  PURCHASE OF NEW POSSESSIONS? When my wife and I buy something that's a major item or a luxury item, we sometimes include the cost of these items in our blessings fund and give an extra 10% to the Lord's work.

3. Write down a financial value for each item OR (very important) write down the amount you "WOULD HAVE BEEN WILLING TO SPEND” for the item. For example: A family member gave me a $1000 radial arm saw they no longer needed. I would never have been able to afford a $1000 saw, but I might have "been willing to spend" $200 on a used radial arm saw. So, in this case, I put down the value of this blessing at $200 (not $1000). There- fore I ended up giving an extra $20 to the Lord's work -- not an extra $100.

4. Add up the value of the total number of blessings for each week and take 10% of the total and decide where to give it OR set the week's amount aside by writing it in your notebook or putting the money in a special place or account that you will consider your "BLESSINGS FUND."

5. Faithfully give your local church 10% of your main income. Then begin to joyfully and generously use your "Blessings Fund" to help support missions, special projects and needs, and Christian workers and organizations.

Click here to see as a: PDF Printable Flyer    This article is available as a flyer for distribution in churches.   (click here to get more info about using this flyer in your church or ministry) 

Click here to FORWARD this page to others

    

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer on Biblical generosity and financial matters.  He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media.  Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350,000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries .For additional materials or to contact Brian, email: bk@kluth.org or visit: www.kluth.org

© www.kluth.org.  Copyright reprint permission for non-commercial purposes can be purchased for $20 to photocopy, fax, email or print this materials for 1-25 people, $50 for distribution to 26-500 people, $75 for 501-999 people, and $100 for distribution to 1000 or more.   To purchase the required reprint permission, go to the products page on this website (www.kluth.org), call 1-888-443-7407, or email: bk@kluth.org     

 

 "MAXIMUM Generosity" -  21st Century Biblical Generosity Resources and Training ( www.kluth.org )

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 Building Fund Projects

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