Reflections: A Personal Journey of Generosity with Eric Most
Across the country, NCF’s team members are some of the brightest, most passionate experts in charitable giving. We do what we do because we share your biblical view of generosity, and that inspires our work every day. We know that everyone is on their own personal journey of generosity. We’re here to help you along your journey, and we take that honor seriously.
As NCF team members, we’re often motivated by what we’ve experienced on our own journeys of generosity. This month, Eric Most, NCF Rocky Mountain vice president and relationship manager, is sharing his story. Eric’s journey includes a twist on your typical wedding registry, a powerful sermon in a field, and a lemonade stand run by tiny entrepreneurs!
Eric, tell us about an early experience with generosity.
When I was a teenager, my mom told my siblings that if there is anything that we want to carry forward in our family—an heirloom, for example—not to give it to me because I would either donate it or sell it and donate the money. She saw early on that—for the most part—I was not attached to “things”, and I’m still not now. That’s just an early experience that shows a pattern of how God wired me.
My wife, Jacqie, saw this pattern play out when we went to register for wedding gifts. I walked into the store excited and walked out, feeling demoralized. My heart knew we didn’t need all this “stuff”. I shared this struggle with a friend, and he suggested that instead of requesting gifts, we open an NCF Giving Fund. I had never heard of this idea (or NCF), but it fit our hearts better than any three-pot slow cooker ever could. (Sorry, Jacqie!)
Sounds like it was clear early on that God gave you a heart for generosity. How did this natural tendency connect with your biblical beliefs?
In 2000, I attended the Passion OneDay event—picture Woodstock but with 40,000 college students gathered on a field in Tennessee for the name and renown of Jesus! It was there that I first heard Dr. John Piper’s sermon, Boasting Only in The Cross, based on Galatians 6. There were trash cans filled with free cassette tapes of his past sermons, and I took home one titled Doing Missions When Dying is Gain. I have listened to that tape so many times, and it’s informed so much of who I am and how I think.
When I decide to do something, I commit 150%, and Dr. Piper had me hooked. I picked up his book Don’t Waste Your Life and studied his warning not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing and his challenge to make the glory of God our singular passion. Then I read his book Let the Nations Be Glad and David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. All of these teachings, plus conversations in bible studies, made a big impact early-on in my view and understanding of biblical generosity. The combined viewpoints gave me a passion to do all for God’s glory, including how I handle material “things” and financial blessing.
What does biblical generosity mean to you?
It does not look like just giving God a tip. NCF uses language that says it perfectly, Love gives: everything we are and everything we have. To me, zealous, biblical generosity does not just refer to our finances. We are not owners of anything, but stewards of everything. God owns it all.
I believe that too many entrepreneurial-minded believers are typically not generous with their relationships. God has made me a relationship person, and so as an NCF relationship manager, I probably spend more time connecting people than most. I’m a natural networker, not for personal gain, but out of a desire to benefit the Kingdom. If I see two believers that might be able to partner to grow together in godliness, I want to make that connection.
We are all on our own journey of biblical generosity, and I’ve learned how to best live mine out through leading and attending a Journey of Generosity (JOG). I recommend everyone attend one—they’re an amazing time of encouragement.
How do you live out generosity in your daily life?
Several years ago I heard John Piper (I told you he made an impact!) say something that will stay with me forever. He said, “There are only three kinds of Christians when it comes to world missions: zealous goers, zealous senders, and disobedient.” Through this lens of radicalness, Jacqie and I left high-earning careers to follow God’s call for us to go to Colorado so I could join the NCF team. Now, I have the joy of working with some of the most generous believers in the world. And while my life may not look as “zealous” as those I know living in the mission field, I hope and pray that God is using me daily to inspire biblical generosity.
Jacqie and I are big believers in supporting the local church and discipleship-oriented organizations. We support missionaries that equip locals for ministry, and we have what we believe is God’s heart for orphans and widows—adoption is a part of our family’s story. We are passionate about anti-human trafficking and support local organizations doing that work.
You have two adorable boys. How are you leaving a personal legacy of generosity for them?
Since giving is completely digital through our donor-advised fund, our boys don’t see us writing checks in church or making donations to charity. So we talk with them about how mom and dad give. We took our NCF Strategic Fund Review and translated it into a conversation about where our money goes that two kids under eight years old could understand. Next, we set up a “family business meeting” to teach entrepreneurship. The boys earn a base salary based on doing their chores with opportunities to make commission. We have monthly meetings to discuss their earnings and how it will be allocated within our jar system: SAVE 15%, INVEST 15%, GIVE 15%, and SPEND 55%. Jacqie and I commit to matching whatever they place in the GIVE jar. Recently, the boys ran a lemonade stand with some friends and placed a tip jar on the table. They gave 100% of their tips to the local organization, COS I Love You. It was a proud moment for Jacqie and me to see their generosity in action.
In addition, included in our will is a Statement of Faith that we wrote, which uses the guard rails of NCF to guide our boys to biblically steward our resources in the event of death. (I am happy to share this statement with anyone who is interested.) It goes back to what I said earlier—everything we are and everything we have is His. Now, and long after we leave this earth.