Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Developing a Heart of Giving

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks if the next generation loves the same things you love, how much will they love the Lord.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If they adopt the priorities that we have modeled—not just what we say our priorities are but the ones we demonstrate—how earnest will they be about serving the Lord and others?

Leslie: This is the Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, November 20, 2014.

Yesterday, Nancy Leigh DeMoss helped us catch a vision for leading a joyful life of giving. She delivered this message at the Generous Giving Conference earlier this year. In part one of this message, Nancy showed us how much joy King David had as he gave generously and encouraged others to give. He was giving so his son, Solomon, could oversee construction of the temple. This story has a lot of meaning for us today. Nancy will show you how. She's in 1 Chronicles 29.

Nancy: Well, verses 10–19, I won't read this whole passage, but David prays and he worships God, he exalts God for His great power and majesty and glory. Verse 12, he says,

Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, [gratitude going up; we thank you, Oh God, our God] and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. . . . 
O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own" (vv. 12–14, 16).

Now, I'm not telling you anything you don't know. But I think we need to remind ourselves of this really often. And that is that it all belongs to God. That God is the owner. We are dependent on Him for everything we have and need. He is the source of all wealth. It all belongs to Him. He owns it all, and that give us a whole greater freedom in generously sharing it and directing it as He directs us.

I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you (v. 17).

You see a lot about the heart of giving in those verses. You see, God wants us giving with a pure heart. That has to do with the motives. That has to do with the methods and means. You see God wanting us to give freely and joyously. And we see that a lifestyle of generous giving inspires others to a lifestyle of generous giving.

O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you. Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart [that's a great thing to pray for your children and grandchildren] that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision (v. 18).

And again, we just see that in order to fulfill his calling in life, Solomon's greatest need was not material resources. He didn't need those and God did provide those. But what he needed even more was a heart for God, a walk with God, more than he needed material resources. Remember that as you think about what you want to pass on to your children.

Well, verses 20–22, the whole congregation blesses the Lord, they offer sacrifices. Verse 22: "They ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness." You see the joy theme in these two chapters and in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9? The joy that comes with great generosity, that's a response to God's amazing grace.

When I think of the joy of giving, my mind goes back to a man who was a friend of my dad's. His name was Dick James, and he was the inventor of the Slinky toy. He was a young engineer who invented this in the early 1940s. And this invention propelled Dick James to instant overnight fame and fortune.

Now, all of a sudden he had the resources to do whatever he wanted to do, and he did. He traveled the world and tasted of everything he could. But he found this deep emptiness and longing and dissatisfaction in his heart. None of it satisfied him as he had thought it would.

In that process, Dick James came to faith in Christ. My dad got to know this man and shared his story often with us as we were growing up. This man, after his conversion, was totally sold out to the Lord. He thought at one point that God was calling him to South America to be a missionary.

He gave away everything he had. He had an uncle who died and left him a small inheritance, and he gave that away. He didn't want any bank account to lean on. He didn't want to raise support. And my dad would remind us, "God doesn't call everyone to live this way." But this was what Dick James did. He was just radical. He wanted to fully trust God.

But he did confess later on to having held out on God in one little point. He kept with him when he went to South America the original die for the Slinky toy thinking that if perchance God would let him down, he could start making Slinky toys in Latin America and open up a whole new market.

Well, then he told about the day when God spoke to his heart. He went to the Pacific Ocean and threw that die in the ocean and became a really free man.

Now, there were some sad and tragic parts to this man's story. You may have read parts of it elsewhere. Don't believe everything you read. But this man had just this core heart to want to go hard after God.

In that process he wrote a letter to my dad. I have, actually, the original of this where he expressed the incredible joy that he experienced from being sold out to Christ. Let me read to you just a paragraph from that letter.

I praise the Lord that He has shown me both sides of having much of this world's goods and having nothing. The more I am in this world, the more I can see that there is nothing, nothing, nothing. Families, money, factories, education, position, reputation, nothing amounts to a piece of dust outside of Christ. He is everything, all total. He is King.
He is wonderful. He is love, life, peace, happiness, lovely, wonderful, to be praised. He is our all. He is the foundation. He is the rock. He is the only way. He is breath, bread, water. Praise God! Glory! Glory! I want Him and only Him one hundred percent. Nothing else! Hallelujah! I want to know Him. I want to glory in Him. I want to follow Him. Glory to His name.

My dad would sometimes say when he read that, "People might call that man a fanatic." And then he would say, "I wish I was that kind of a fanatic."

Well, the effects of generous giving are enormous. It's multi-dimensional in its influence and its impact. It moves us upward and Godward in acts of worship. It has an inward direction. We could do a whole weekend talking about the sanctifying influence of generous giving and how it loosens our grip on stuff, and it does away with self-absorption and how it brings us joy. It's got an inward effect.

And then it has an outward effect. It blesses others. It inspires others to give. And then there's a forward effect, the influence on the next generation to passing that forward and shaping their values and planting seeds that will produce a future harvest in the lives of those you may never know.

So what are you doing today in the area of living/giving that will outlive you? What are you passing on to the next generation? And I don't mean just your children. I'm a single woman. I don't have my own biological children, but I'm influencing a next generation.

If they love what I love, what I really love; if the next generation loves what you really love, how much will they love the Lord our God? If they adopt the priorities that we have modeled, not just what we say our priorities are but the ones we demonstrate, how earnest will they be about serving the Lord and others?

Okay, I've got to talk just a few minutes about Art DeMoss. Let me just give you a few glimpses about him. Nearly thirty-five years ago on the weekend of my twenty-first birthday, I received a call that my dad had had a heart attack and was instantly with the Lord.

I'd been with him that morning, actually, and then had flown back to Virginia where I was serving in a local church at the time. He was fifty-three. My mother was just forty. There were seven children ages eight to twenty-one at the time.

My dad met Christ in a radical, life-transforming encounter when he was in his mid-twenties. He never got over the wonder of the fact that God would have saved him. Early in his marriage, he and my mom started a small insurance business.

They pioneered in mass marketing of health and life insurance. He was the first one to see insurance without agents. Some of you are old enough to remember Art Linkletter doing commercials for this insurance company and that's how his business was developed. The business prospered, and at the time of his death in 1979, it was worth somewhere around 250 million dollars.

In the process of building that business, he was a man of one single solitary purpose, and that was to glorify God and advance God's kingdom here on earth. That is all that really mattered to Art DeMoss. And my mom was such a partner with him as well in that heart.

It's what got him up in the morning. It's what kept him going through seasons of prosperity as well as seasons of great adversity. He was a man who lived in the light of eternity. You see, he knew that the National Liberty Corporation that he had founded would soon be forgotten, but he wanted to leave an eternal legacy.

He wanted to take with him and send ahead before him to heaven true spiritual riches. So as a result, he wholeheartedly pursued God and sought to honor Him and serve Him. He loved God's Word. He loved reaching people with the gospel.

I was telling somebody today that he witnessed to everything that moved. And he had some interesting ways of doing that. But God seemed to take him to ripe fruit—people who were ready—and the Spirit moved on their hearts to trust Christ.

And then he had this incredible heart for giving—and in so many different ways. He was not flamboyant or flashy about this. But we lived in that home. We knew what drove him. We knew what motivated him. We sat there on Sunday's at the dinner table reading missionary letters with a map of the world on the wall of our breakfast room. There were pictures of missionaries that we had supported in different ways. Strings were tied from their picture to the country where they served. We would read their letters. We just grew up in this atmosphere of loving to give, because grace flows out in generosity, right?

I had a gentleman tell me here last night about how he came to know the Lord. He said, "When I got God's grace, it just started coming out in generosity." That's what it does. Stingy believers. I mean is that not something that should not make any sense at all? How can we be such recipients of God's amazing grace and then hold on to anything including the breath we breathe? It's all a free gift from God.

So he lived with this open heart and open hands eager to give. Well, within a year of his death, the business that he had worked so hard to build had been sold. And we had no contact or involvement with that any more. I have no idea what's happened to it today. But I do know about the investment that he made in countless ministries, in the lives of thousands of believers, a handful of whom are here tonight, and how that investment has continued. It has moved on and not least of which is the investment he made in the lives of his children of spiritual riches, a heart for God and for ministry.

I can still remember him often exhorting us about the potential pitfalls of prosperity. And because of that, he did not believe that parents should leave a massive financial inheritance to their children. He believed they should leave a huge, as big as possible, spiritual inheritance, and he was very intentional about trying to do that.

But he made it clear that he did not plan to leave tons of money to his children. He had seen how doing that had caused such wreckage in the lives of second and third generation recipients of wealth. So when he died, his will provided, and we knew this was going to be the case, that the vast majority of all his assets and holdings were put into a foundation that he had started many years before his death.

I'm so thankful for the substantial resources that have been released to the Lord's work. Let me say this. I'm sure this wasn't original with him, but he would say, "Do your givin' while you're livin' so you're knowin' where it's goin'."

He didn't know that at fifty-three in the height of his business that the Lord would take him. So he had given generously in his lifetime, but he'd also made plans that if the Lord took him sooner than what we would call an untimely way, that that giving would continue. I'm just thankful for the many, many thousands of people around the world who have come to know Jesus as a result of his generosity.

Just let me say this as the next generation daughter. I'm thankful that those funds have not been in my pockets. I'm thankful for the temptations, the choices, the potential dangers that I have been spared as a result of his wise planning and stewardship. And most of all, I'm so thankful for the incredible legacy that he left me of a heart for God, a passion for His kingdom, a desire to be a generous live-er and giver, and to pour out my time, my resources, and my life for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

I have in my possession a copy of a note that my dad wrote that was dated April 4, 1977. At the top he wrote, "What are my lifetime goals?" He listed five. And the first was a certain amount of money that he wanted to be able to give away. It's a figure that would make probably just about anyone in this room gasp. In God's providence and as a result of wise stewardship and planning, he has been able within the lifetime of his children to give in excess of that amount. So that was his first lifetime goal.

Then he wrote on that same piece of paper, "What are my goals for the next three years, and if I knew I were to die in six months?" And both of those centered around his goal to extricate himself from his business so that he would have more time to devote to the Lord's work.

What he didn't know when he wrote this little note was that he didn't have three years left here on earth to fulfill those goals. He was fifty-one when he made those notes. And at the age of fifty-three, he went to be with the Lord. And what a rich legacy he has left in so many ways.

What kind of legacy are you leaving your children? Do your children have a passion for business? For sports? For politics? For making money? Finer things of life? Success as the world measures it? Or do they have a passion for Jesus and His kingdom?

Now, you can't make that happen. You can pray. You can create a climate that is conducive to their wanting to choose Christ. But thirty-five years after you're buried, as I stand here today reflecting on the legacy left by Art DeMoss, what will be your children's, your grandchildren's recollection of you?

Will it be a dad and a mom on their knees? That's the indelible image I have of Art DeMoss starting every day on his knees in the Word, in prayer. It was the number one priority of his life. Will they think of parents who were passionate about bringing people to Jesus? Will they think about parents who lived generously for the sake of Christ and the gospel?

I'm so moved by what was shared earlier tonight and the fact that we're here today because five generations ago a twenty-year-old Thomas McClellan consecrated himself to the Lord. And you just wonder five generations from now what might it be that God would be doing in this world as a result of your life and your heart for his kingdom.

I want to share just a closing quote with you here. If I can find the right page. Some of you remember the name Robert Murray M'Cheyne who was a Scottish pastor in the nineteenth century. And he said,

Some of you pray night and day to be branches of the True Vine. You pray to be made all over the image of Christ. If so, you must be like Him in giving. A branch bears the same kind of fruit as the tree. An old divine says well, "What would it become of us if Christ had been as saving of His blood as some men are of their money?"
Oh, my dear Christians, if you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely to the vile and the poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It's not your money I want but your happiness. Remember His own word, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Would you bow with me in prayer for just a moment? Lord, we do join our hearts in saying, "I consecrate all that I am and all that I have—the faculties of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly possessions, my time and my influence over others, all to be used entirely for Your glory and resolutely employed in obedience to Your commands as long as You continue to have me in life."

O Lord, may it be true. May it be so for Your glory, for the sake of Your name that the gospel of Jesus Christ may be known and loved throughout the world. We pray it in Jesus' great name with thanksgiving. Amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us a progression of giving. I'll review what we've heard the last couple of days. God shows us grace; we respond with gratitude, and then the overflow of that is generosity.

Nancy gave that talk at the Generous Giving Conference earlier this year. If you missed any of that message, you can hear it by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. The reason you can ever hear any message on Revive Our Hearts is because God puts it on the hearts of our listeners to give and support the ministry.

This month when you support the ministry with a gift of any size, we want to give back to you. We'll send you a copy of a brand new musical album Nancy recorded on the piano. It's called Come Adore. Nancy's here to give some of the background of how Come Adore came about.

Nancy: Well, I've always loved Christmas music and even to this day in my mom's home when Christmastime comes around, she plays beautiful classic music on a system in the house. I just love it. And so a year or so ago after I recorded my first piano CD, the one of hymns, my producer and his wife and I went to a restaurant one night during the recording session. We sat down, and he said, "What's next? What shall we do next?"

And I said, "Let's do a Christmas CD." And I can still remember, Brian took one of the paper placemats and started writing on it. We made a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs that should be considered for this album. And we ended up choosing eleven of those.

Some of them are classic Christmas favorites like "O Come All Ye Faithful," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," "Silent Night." And then there are a few that although they not as well known, they beautifully express the heart of Christmas. Carols like "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus," "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," an old English carol, and then "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne."

What I love about these carols, including these lesser known ones, are the beauty of the lyrics that celebrate the incarnation of Christ—who He is, why He came, what He came to do, and what difference that makes in our lives.

And what better time of year to meditate on some of those foundational truths to our faith than this Christmas season. It is my hope that as people listen to these beautiful arrangements of these Christmas carols that their hearts will be stirred and they really will be moved to come adore Jesus Christ, the Lord.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking about her new Christmas album Come Adore. When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we'll send you a copy, one per household, here in November. Just tell us, "I'd like my copy of Come Adore" when you call 1–800–569–5959, or take us up on this offer by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, tomorrow we'll hear about a family that's been called to some radical giving. Their story will challenge you to think differently about your possessions, money, and security. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.