I recently heard a presentation from a Generous Giving conference by Ed Owens regarding how much money he and his family should be giving. For many years, they have struggled with how much money they should be giving since God had blessed them with millions of dollars in wealth.
You can read Ed Owen's testimony in it's entirety on the Generous Giving website here.
Which question is the right one to ask?
For many years, Ed Owens and his family struggled with the question "How much should we give?" As God blessed them with more and more wealth, they would continue to increase their percentage giving upward to 50%, but they were still living quite lavishly on the other half.
Through the teaching of both John Piper and Randy Alcorn, Ed came to the realization that he and his family had been asking the wrong question. Instead of asking "how much should we give," the better question to ask in his situation is "how much do we keep? This is the right question.
Once they started asking this question, they made the following changes with the money God had blessed them with:
- They put a governor on their spending and net worth. They capped their income at $500,000 and resolved to cap their net worth at about $8 million. Everything else they would give away.
- They decided to give $2 million of their savings away as a sacrifice to the Lord.
- They decided to sell their $3 million house and move into a more modest/middle class home.
- They decided to sell a couple of their expensive luxury cars and to donate some of that money to famine relief in Africa.
- Ed and his wife put their two daughters on a budget so that they would learn how to manage money.
In his testimony, Ed is the first to admit that these changes were just the beginning steps as his family continues to wrestle with the question on how much they should keep. For them, it will be a continuing process of seeking the Lord's direction on what His will is concerning the money He has blessed them with.
About Ed Owens
Ed Owens is the founder of Samaritan Asset Management Services is Chicago. He shared this testimony at the annual Generous Giving Conference in Pasadena, California, February 28 - March 2, 2003.