Last weekend was an unexpectedly pleasant one! I went into the weekend thinking I was going to babysit not knowing God would rather place me in a room full of the wealthy few who are using their finances to further the Kingdom of God. I received a whole new and different lesson on stewardship.
“The JESUS Film” presents the greatest blessing humanity could ever receive in motion picture form: Jesus’ life on Earth. Under the wing of Campus Crusade for Christ, the world’s largest Christian ministry organization, this film has been brought to some of the world’s most remote and persecuted areas in the world. After 36 years it has become the most viewed movie in history, has been translated in more than 1,000 languages, and has reached 2 billion people. The JESUS Film Project plans to reach the rest of the world’s 5 billion population in the next 10 years. Big God-sized goals like that obviously takes some major dough, hence, the JESUS Film Briefing at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California.
The testimonies and stories we heard from missionaries all across the world was completely mind blowing. Imagine listening to these men and women sharing the Gospel and The JESUS Film in a small hut on top of a mountain in South America or in the most desperate areas in the Middle East. They shared stories of children (who have never heard of the name of Christ) screaming, “No!!! Jesus!!!” as they watched Him being nailed to the cross. Women being battered and beaten and carrying their dead daughter because of their newfound faith in Jordan. Former terrorist members believing in the redemptive power and love of God and becoming Christ followers. Needless to say, my core was shaken.
These missionaries would not be able to do what they so boldly without some efforts and support from others. When The JESUS Film was in production in the ’70s, a couple invested 5 million dollars. When asked over 30 years later if they were happy they gave millions, they replied, “Absolutely.” Why? Because $5 million helped reach 2 billion souls and counting.
One of the speakers said, “Money won’t last forever but people will. What is the better investment?” People believed in the latter and because of the vision The JESUS Film gave and the hearts God opened, they were able to raise $6.3 million.
We may be in a physical church more often than a fancy fundraiser, but one thing is certain- giving to the Kingdom has a powerful and eternal impact. The money we give does not merely act as coverage for maintenance bills in the church or to see that the paper thermometer near the stage increases. It’s about the people divinely connected to it that God will minister and bless. And the more we understand that nothing we have is ours to begin with, we give non-reluctantly and by faith. We act out 2 Corinthians 9:7 with joy:
“God loves a cheerful giver.”