Another anniversary has arrived! We’re now at 28 years and counting since Larry Burkett challenged me with an idea for a monthly financial publication, one that would build on the biblical principles he taught and would make specific and appropriate investment recommendations without conflicts of interest or ulterior motives.
Larry was God’s provision for the early difficult days of SMI. He extended grace to me. Asking nothing in return, his mentoring, encouragement, and public support during the early 1990s allowed us to survive a slow, underfunded start, and his on-going friendship enabled SMI to grow and flourish. Without Larry, there would have been no SMI.
A lot has changed around here since July 1990 when I ordered a printing of 500 copies of our first issue. For one thing, we have about 7,500 or so members rather than a list of a few hundred friends pulled together from my Rolodex! I now have a whole crew of teammates who help support our website, our radio appearances, and our mutual-fund partnership (rather than just one loyal and long-suffering secretary.)
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the motivation behind our work. It’s not, and never has been, because I’ve always wanted to be a teacher or even because I particularly enjoy the process of helping Christians strengthen their financial foundations.
No, stronger financial foundations mean little to me if they’re not accompanied by increased generosity on your part. What motivates me (and our entire team) is a driving desire to see our wonderful God glorified as the message of salvation in His Son is carried around the world to people He loves, people who are lost without Him. And that, more often than not, requires money. That’s why I want you to have more — so you can give more.
I admit it. I dream big dreams for you in this area, that you will excel in the grace of giving (2 Cor 8:7).
I want you to give more this year than you gave last year, and more next year than you gave this year, and still more the year after that (2 Cor 9:6,8).
I want you to reap a generous harvest (2 Cor 9:6 ).
I want you to bring joy to the Father’s heart, because He just loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).
I want you to experience what it’s like to receive God’s abundant provision as you give in good measure (Luke 6:38).
I want you to demonstrate your faithfulness as you earnestly seek to prove the sincerity of your love (1 Cor 4:2, 2 Cor 8:7-8 ).
I want others to praise and glorify God because of your obedience in giving (2 Cor 9:11-13).
I want you to make acceptable sacrifices that are well-pleasing to God (Phil 4:18, Heb 13:16).
I want you to give in full proportion to your ability. For many, the tithe is a good place to start but a poor place to stop (2 Cor 8:11).
I want you to know what it’s like to see God supply all your needs out of His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19).
I want you to move on toward greater spiritual usefulness by proving yourself faithful in the small things (Luke 16:11).
I want your giving to convincingly testify to your belief that God is the owner of everything (Psalm 24:1-2).
I want you to be able to gladly lay aside earthly wealth because you have God as your treasure (Psalm 63:1,3,8).
I want you to be loved and prayed for all the more (2 Cor 9:14).
I want you to be Christ-like in making sacrifices so that others might become spiritually rich (2 Cor 8:9).
I want you to have the satisfaction of being singled out as a good example to others (2 Cor 8:1-3).
I want you to have a sense of urgency about making the most of your opportunities because life is fleeting and you don’t know what tomorrow holds (John 9:4, Jas 4:14).
I want you to learn and enjoy the secret of contentment (Ecc 5:10).
I want you to gladly count everything a loss compared to the priceless gain of knowing Christ, our Lord (Phil 3:8).
I want you to earn treasures in heaven where you will value them forevermore (Matt 6:19-20).
I want all these wonderful things for you. And really, don’t you want them, too?
The articles in this anniversary issue have been selected with a desire to encourage and spur you on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24). May the Father richly reward your faithfulness as you pursue the grace of giving.