Getting to Give
Written by Anne Smith
We’ve heard the phrases over and over again “Tis the Season to be Giving” and “It’s better to give than to receive.” But I get overwhelmed at the choices and options, the needs and hurts in the world around us. For me looking at the slew of charities and nonprofits out there is a lot like walking into a wine store and thinking how can I possibly make the right choice if I don’t know how each tastes? But lately, I’ve been reminded that when I combine my passion with the opportunity to give, I discover more of myself, my identity and my purpose.
God’s design for you is unique and you were created to fulfill a unique part of His Kingdom, and that includes His Kingdom economy. The idea of a Kingdom economy is relatively new to me, or maybe it just landed with fresh revelation. Three times in the last month, I’ve been told about the Kingdom economy. When I hear the same thing from three completely different sources, my internal Holy-Spirit barometer starts to ring. I think God is trying to get my attention.
The first encounter was during a personal ministry session with Jim and Pat Banks, who have such an anointing in helping people discover the “voice of your heart.” We had been discussing desires and dreams when Jim reminded me God’s dreams are always bigger and more abundant than our dreams. In God’s economy, the Kingdom economy, he turns three fish and five loaves into thousands!
Kingdom economy thrives on wholehearted living and giving. Then less than two weeks later, I met Julie Wilson, a friend of Porch Lights who shares my love of hospitality and living life fully! In our conversation, Julie also spoke passionately about the power of wholehearted generosity. “I’m not a natural giver, but a natural receiver,” Julie ironically states. The irony is that Julie is President of Women Doing Well, an organization that “exists to activate women of influence to live lives shaped by God’s generosity.” We laughed because only God would put a non-giver in the lead of an organization supporting a life of giving, and change her heart through the process! Julie went on to share that through integrating her passion, her calling and her giving, God has transformed her into a wholehearted giver. “I felt a mind shift happening, changing the dance,” Julie reflects on her own journey from receiver to “get-to” giver.
Julie Wilson has a faith story that is like many of ours, spending much of her youth with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. Through a series of God-things; including prayer warriors, an NBC interview, Bible studies and failed relationships, Julie planted her two feet in the church and was drawn into a full-time ministry. Julie’s “two years in ministry became 14 years,” she said, before taking the position of Vice President of Communications for Generous Giving and helping start Women Doing Well (WDW). Women Doing Well, what a great name! And so fitting, for it is an organization that helps women discover their purpose, their passion and their plan, and helps organize them into powerful givers.
“We work with women to define who they are and what they have and how to deploy it for the Kingdom,” Julie states matter-of-factly. Here’s a thought: maybe a key to understanding who we are lies in how we are drawn to give? When we take a moment to inventory our hearts, our desires, where we would like to give, how to give of our time, resources and selves, it will help shape and understand who you are created to be, your mission on this earth, the essence with which you were born.
“We often see the world through the lens of ‘God doesn’t have enough,’ so at WDW we address the fear factor in stewarding what He’s given us. If we obey God, God will take care of us!” Julie exclaims. “I want to be truly abundant in my mindset, especially about my daughter, husband and our family values,” she says.
I know that when my life is balanced and integrated, I feel like I’m on the top of the world! I also know the power of harnessing women’s visions, dreams and resources. And so does Women Doing Well! In their ground-breaking research, WDW discovered while women own 51% of the wealth in the United State, only 6% of the women surveyed felt confident to handle their resources. Ladies, if you find yourself in the 6%, we want to connect you to Julie Wilson and her team. Here at Porch Lights, we are so confident that to thrive we are meant to live in community and learn how to use all the gifts God has given us. It is an honor to connect you to WDW, for we know that if we as women are doing well, then half of Richmond will be doing well, and imagine the change that could flow! Bring on the river of life!
My third encounter with the Kingdom economy was less direct, but the eyes of my heart picked up on it, almost like God was saying “Here is an example of what I can do, sit and watch.” I am referring to the documentary I watched about Mully. Mully is a man who went from being an orphan, to the Great Gatsby of Kenya, to giving His wealth back to God. And through His releasing back to God, God has literally made rivers flow in the desert. I was left dumbstruck as it seemed like God was saying “see what man’s economy will get you, now look at what my economy can do.” The story of Mully is one of the most powerful modern examples of the Kingdom economy I have seen, and the same God who brought water to the deserts of Kenya can transform Richmond for His glory. It starts with us as individuals saying “yes, Lord.”
When we say “yes, Lord” we start to live in the full identity of who our creator made us, and when we live in our full identity we can meet the needs of people God brings to us from a place of rest. What would life be like if we all lived out of our true identity? We would be powerful movers and shakers in the Kingdom, like our fearless leader, Donna Davis, or Plentiful Foods chef Annhorner Truitt, ICM’s Janice Allen, and Julie Wilson of Women Doing Well. God is waiting for us to respond to Him, to let Him pour His blessings through us into others.
Friends, we serve the God of the universe, the God who parted the Red Sea and the God who turned three fish and five loaves into thousands, and filled empty wine vats to overflowing. We serve a God who is abundant, faithful, and who promises to provide for our needs. We can safely live in the Kingdom where God is in charge of the economy. And His economy is simple and straightforward—do what God is asking you to do, and He will provide!