Across the country, team members from National Christian Foundation (NCF) are some of the brightest, most passionate experts in charitable giving in the country. They share your biblical view of generosity, and that inspires their work every day.
This week, Eric Most – vice president of NCF’s Rocky Mountains local office and NCF relationship manager – is sharing his story. Though he has a lot of fun, he takes his role quite seriously. He, too, has been impacted by experiences of generosity – which include 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 was anything that they wanted 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 the way 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 (donor-advised fund). I had never heard of this idea (or NCF) at the time, but it fit our hearts better than any three-pot slow cooker ever could. (Sorry, Jacqie!)
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 called 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 percent, 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 also think 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 with 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 who might be able to partner to grow together in godliness, I want to connect them.
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 now, 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.” Looking through this radical lens, 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 who 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.
How are you leaving a personal legacy of generosity for your boys?
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 small salary based on doing their chores, and we give them additional opportunities to make commission. We have monthly meetings to discuss their earnings and how it will be allocated within our jar system: SAVE 15 percent, INVEST 15 percent, GIVE 15 percent, and SPEND 55 percent. 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 percent 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.