Count Your BlessingsNAE Financial Health
A number of years ago, Brian Kluth, national director of NAE Financial Health, discovered a verse in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper” (NKJV).
At first, Brian didn’t fully understand how this verse could apply to his family’s giving. But he and his wife began a Sunday evening practice of looking back and writing down how God provided for them the previous seven days. Each week, they discovered there were ways God provided for them outside of their normal income. They began giving 10 percent of their main income to their local church and then started a “Blessings Fund” that represented 10 percent or more of the myriad of creative provisions and financial blessings God brought into their life each week.
At the end of the first year, even though Brian’s main income only brought in $15,000, he and his wife had given $1,500 to their local church and an additional $2,500 out of their “Blessings Fund” to other Christian causes. This meant that God gave them $25,000 of blessings during the previous year that was above Brian’s $15,000 salary.
They did this for many years. Each year God doubled and tripled what they were able to give to the Lord’s work, because they counted their blessings. Here are the lessons they learned that helped them live a more joyful and generous life:
- It was helpful for them to plan a time together each week when they remembered and recorded all of God’s provisions from the previous week. For many years, they wrote these down in a “Blessings Notebook” and later changed to sending themselves a weekly email listing out each financial blessing they could recall.
- When they met together, they considered the following areas:
- Main Income — Brian and his wife gave 10 percent of this amount to their local church.
- Additional Income or Unexpected Cash — This included cash gifts, overtime pay, bonuses, second salary, moonlighting, investment returns, sale of any possession, refunds, inheritance, etc.
- People’s Hospitality — Meals, lodging or entertainment that others gave them.
- Special Help or Assistance — Help with car, house, equipment repairs, free babysitting, etc.
- Discount or Sale Items — This included money saved on discounted clothing or household items, garage sale/thrift shop savings, discounts on recreational activities, etc.
- Brian and his wife wrote down the financial value for each item or the amount they would have been willing to spend for the item. For example, a family member gave Brian a $1,000 radial arm saw. He would have never been able or willing to afford a $1,000 tool like this, but he might have been willing to spend $200 on a used radial arm saw at a garage sale. So, in this example, Brian put down the value of the blessing at $200 (not $1,000). Therefore, he gave an extra $20 to the Lord’s work, not an extra $100.
- They added up the value of the total number of blessing items for the week and took 10 percent or more of the total and decided where to give it or whether to set aside the week’s amount in a “Blessings Fund” to be given later. For many years, they set their “Blessings Fund” monies in their budgeting records, but later opened a special Blessings Fund checking account at their local bank that they would transfer funds into each week.
- They faithfully gave their church 10 percent or more of their main income, then joyfully and generously used their “Blessings Fund” to support missions, missionaries, special projects and needs, building programs, the needy, Christian workers and organizations.