Del Fast spent 20 years giving his church what was left over. After a new church led him – along with his wife, Jane – to hear teachings about tithing and generosity, the couple’s perspective on giving radically changed.
Through hard financial times and prosperous ones, Del and Jane now give from the first fruits of their money, time, and talents with an abundance mindset. Their inspiring story of generosity is testimony that when we share God’s blessings he makes great things possible.
A heart for more of God in their giving
Del and Jane’s early experience with financial generosity and giving within the church isn’t uncommon. Del was raised in a very conservative church, in which tithing 10 percent was little more than an obligation. And the idea of tithing – or giving in general – was not talked about at home. Del knew he wanted something more for his life spiritually. But it wouldn’t be until after he and Jane married, moved to Colorado, and joined a new church that he discovered what that would be.
One Sunday morning, Del and Jane walked into Rocky Mountain Christian Church. They had come to expect a great sermon each week from their new pastor, Alan Ahlgrim. But what they heard that day was more; it was a life-changing message – tithing out of faith and stewardship versus obligation and expectation.
“I had never paid much attention to what Scripture says about tithing,” Del says. “Everything changed that day. I went home completely convicted and wowed.”
Jane and Del talked and prayed over the words of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer in John 17:6-7 (TLB): “I have told these men all about you … Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you.” They meditated on Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines.”
The idea that everything we have is a gift from God hit Del and Jane’s hearts so deeply, they gave more generously than ever before, beginning the very next Sunday.
A commitment to a mindset of abundance
One of the five common barriers to generosity is living with a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance mentality. In this season, Del and Jane were struggling to run a construction business. They were focused on fulfilling their needs and providing for their young family. Tithing even a small amount was a step of faith.
“I looked back and realized that I had given away only $300 to the church the entire year prior,” Del admits. “To make a significant financial change so abruptly was a big deal for us. But it felt like exactly the right thing to do.”
Del and Jane witnessed their business and life flourish profoundly over the next 21 years. They grew their company and expanded into land development, construction development, commercial construction, and real estate investing. They saw down times, but they had learned that, by committing to a lifestyle of giving to God first and saving wisely, they would make it through.
Del jokingly blames their pastor, Alan, for their new perspective on generosity. He taught Del and Jane to think about generosity radically, both through his sermons and by inviting them on a weekend Journey of Generosity in Colorado Springs.
Del and Jane learned how tithing is just one piece of generosity. They leaned hard into the generosity movement, saying yes to mission trips that took them from a ranch in Montana to Brazil, Peru, Honduras, and Austria. Del shared his construction knowledge by pouring concrete or building structures, and Jane contributed her skills of service through food preparation and housekeeping.
About five years ago, one of their investments resulted in a significant and unexpected windfall. That specific blessing really added to the Fast’s ability to spread more generosity.
“We immediately set up an NCF Giving Fund,” Del says. “We used to scramble at the end of the tax year to mail checks to different ministries. Now, the bulk of our giving goes into our Giving Fund (donor-advised fund) and is distributed to the organizations we love based on our Giving Strategy.”
Today, The Fasts split their time between Florida and Colorado, and remain heavily involved in serving their church homes in both locations with the time, talents, and construction and real estate knowledge God has blessed them with.
A legacy of a giving heart
“I have come to love the words of Acts 20:35, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,” Jane says. “We get so much joy out of giving away what God has stewarded us with, and we want our children and grandchildren to experience that for themselves. Our desire is for them to have giving hearts.”
Del and Jane’s sons have joined them on mission trips over the years and remain engaged in ongoing conversations about the family’s generosity. One year, for Christmas, they challenged their kids and grandkids to give to their favorite charities and committed to matching their contributions. The generous journey that began with faithful preaching one Sunday morning is being taught to the next generation, and the next.
Photo: Courtesy of the Fast family.
Special thanks to NCF’s Rocky Mountains team for their original work on this story.