What It Means to Give Well
By Carrie-Ann Jasper Yearty
Women's Fund of Smith County
Last April, my husband, Jason and were in Atlanta, GA attending a Celebration of Generosity – an amazing experience hosted by Generous Giving that brings Christian givers together to hear from prominent thought leaders, authors, and pastors. The focus of the event is to share biblical truths about stewardship and generosity and consider how the joy of giving to Kingdom causes impacts eternity.
During one breakout session, Jason and I realized that we found much of our security in our paychecks, bank accounts and 401(k) plans, rather than finding security in the Lord. We have been reminded during this season that we cannot put our faith in our personal finances or the economy, as these can suddenly disappear.
In addition, my siblings and I own an oil and gas company here in East Texas where our expected workload and workforce have decreased significantly because of the pandemic and resulting crisis. Coming off our most profitable year in 28 years, things in the oil and gas industry came to a screeching halt, and our business took a huge blow as well.
We consider ourselves to be generous with our personal finances, our business profits, and our employees. We run our business with an eternal perspective, allowing God to use us in the workplace to make an eternal impact on everyone we meet through our business. We view our workplace as a mission field – being and making disciples of Jesus right in our workplace – doing what we as believers are called to do. And yet, with recent events we find ourselves looking at generosity and giving from a place of fear and scarcity rather than abundance.
Our natural and selfish tendency is to hold tight to what is left, but what we learned during our time in Atlanta was that God is a God of abundance, not scarcity. Henri J.M Nouwen, author of Following Jesus states, “Scarcity mentality is very visible in the Gospel. Jesus is saying that God is the God of abundance. Wherever Jesus appears there is not only life, but life to the full. Jesus comes to bring life and life to the full. He brings much more than we even ask for. Jesus always offers us something beyond our expectations.” I realized – we are not alone in our scarcity mindset.
Over the last couple of years, God has continually put this verse in front of me. Psalm 24:1 reads “The earth is the Lord’s, and EVERYTHING in it, the world, and all who live in it;”
EVERYTHING – my business and my employees, my finances, my 401(k) and retirement savings, my possessions, my plans, my family, my possessions, my dreams, my talents. EVERYTHING. This verse is a reminder to me that as believers, we exist to glorify God by being faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to us…ALL OF IT.
Let us not hold too tightly to all that God has entrusted to us – the needs around us are immense. Our generosity, whether as individuals, families, businesses, or through collective giving circles, shows our trust in God as our Provider, reminds us that we are only stewards of his great gifts, helps us to experience the joy and reward of giving, encourages others to be generous, and allows us to contribute to the flourishing of our community. Whether in times of prosperity, or in the middle of a pandemic, we are called to put other’s interests before our own – to me, that is what it means to give well.
Carrie-Ann serves as VP of People for Jasper Ventures, Inc. where she provides vision, leadership, and direction for the People Team, which includes both Beyond Business and Human Resources. She is a proud member of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a diverse group of over 300 women, who collectively provide high impact grants that benefit women and children. Carrie-Ann is also involved with the Women’s Fund program - G.I.V.E. (Girls Invested in Volunteer Efforts) - helping high school girls, including her daughter, experience the joy of collective giving and grant making TOGETHER. She encourages high school girls across Smith County to join so they can learn more about nonprofits and giving in our community. Please visit www.womensfundsc.org for information about membership and the G.I.V.E. program.