Advance Magazine
Summer 2021

Joy in Giving

Abounding Grace: the testimonies of joyful givers

Chuck and Carolyn‘s story

Chuck was holding an ear of corn, standing in the field at harvest time, pulling back the husks to reveal rows of golden kernels. “There’s always an even number of rows, usually 16. Count the kernels on one ear, and you’ll find 800 on average. And that’s only one of the ears—and all from one seed.” Chuck had seen God supply and multiply his corn crop over decades of farming. He and his wife, Carolyn, bought new farms to add to their operation and lived by faith as their farm business grew. With each new farm there came a list of new tasks. The fields needed drainage tile and there were trees to clear. After each harvest season Chuck stepped out of his combine and into a bulldozer where he spent fall and winter days improving the land … but not to build an earthly kingdom.

Chuck and Carolyn have given to the Lord’s work in lean times and in times of bounty—and have encouraged others to do the same. Although farming is tightly connected to the soil, rain, and sunlight, Chuck and Carolyn have always remained focused on heavenly things. Years ago, when their church was under financial constraints and had to cut a missionary from the budget, Chuck and Carolyn personally picked up that missionary’s support so he or she could remain engaged in the ministry of the gospel on their field. Through the years, they “adopted” many individual missionaries this way and, in the process, God increased their passion for missions.

Sum21 Joy Giving Corn

In a modern farm operation that is rich in data (fuel bills, harvest data, soil maps, grain prices, and fertilizer, herbicide, and pesticide expenses), Chuck and Carolyn also kept track of their giving. That’s right. They kept their needs simple and tracked the amount the Lord provided for them to give to missions through the years. This was the underlying passion that drove their farming efforts. They saw themselves as a conduit—not a keeper—of God’s bounty, and perhaps because of that, the Lord found them faithful and blessed them even more. The more God blessed, the more they gave. And today, the totals are astounding: millions of dollars given in a grand effort to reach eternal souls with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And all of this from one faithful couple joyfully yielded to the Lord. “You can’t outgive the Lord!” Chuck smiles.

Chuck and Carolyn have retired from farming, yet they remain vitally engaged in ministry. Their lives can be described as a steadfast, joy-filled walk of faith.

A bedrock confidence in God is a common trait among those who give to the Lord. They have received of the Lord, and they give out of a grateful heart. A lifetime of experiencing the Lord’s provision strengthens the heart for regular gifts and for lifetime gifts.

The Apostle Paul saw a process at work in the lives of early believers who gave of their wealth to the Lord’s work. What Paul saw so amazed him that he penned his observations into Scripture. In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul noted that, when Christians gave, God responded to their giving by supplying them grace. Those who gave bountifully reaped bountifully, but as they gave away the wealth God had supplied, God provided even more “seed to the sower and bread for food.” Paul noted that the gifts they had given grew into a “harvest” of righteousness and that, in this unexpected way, the givers were enriched. What’s more, those who received their gifts were thankful to God and gave God glory. Gift giving was simply the natural outworking of the gospel in their lives.

Goldie‘s story

Goldie Wagner had been a widow for many years when she walked into a “Meet the Mission” breakfast meeting. She joined a small group who gathered that morning in a local diner. After introductions were finished and the coffee was poured, Goldie listened to a description of recent developments on the fields of ministry from around the world. What she heard stirred her heart for the ministry of the gospel.

Goldie looked back over her life. She and David, her husband, had worked hard. David worked in a local factory, and he and Goldie raised their children on a limited income. Yet even though times were difficult, she and David gave to their local church and to BMM missionaries. The Lord provided them a small farm in the countryside where she continued to live after David passed away. Her needs were simple, and her ministry was vibrant. She loved to be a blessing to others, and so she worked daily to make quilts as gifts for the homeless who were served in a local ministry. Typically, her days were filled with cutting and sewing fabric—giving of herself for the good of others. As she listened in the diner that morning, she was reminded that the Baptist Mid-Missions Global Ministry Center is also a place where people work for the benefit of others. From the Global Ministry Center, missionaries in more than 50 nations receive meaningful services that help them in their ministries. She saw the alignment of BMM’s ministry and her personal ministry.

As the small group enjoyed breakfast that morning, the idea formed in her mind that there was another way she could give to the Lord’s work. “I have an idea.” She said. “When I’m gone, I want to give my farm to the Mission.” With that, Goldie voiced the desire of her heart. As she prayed about it over the next several weeks, her idea turned to resolve. She worked closely with BMM’s Stewardship Department and her personal attorney to draw up the necessary documents to implement her future gift. Now, as Goldie sits at her sewing machine creating another quilt for someone in need, she has the pleasure of knowing that she has cared for her final gifts in a way that honors her Lord—and that’s real joy!

Brennecke webbio

Steve Brennecke

Steve and his family served in a Creative Access Nation before the Lord redirected him into BMM administration. Steve currently serves as BMM’s Administrator for Stewardship Ministries.

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