Scott Lee is a man who went through a divorce about fourteen years ago. As a result of that divorce, he had become burdened with $26,000 in credit card debt. In the process of dealing with his debt problem, God led Scott to Crown Financial Ministries. Through the principles taught in Crown about handling money God's way, Scott was able to pay off his debt over a period of five and a half years.
Scott's financial life transformed
During this time, Scott was able to see God's miraculous work in providing for his needs while he paid down his debt. In fact, Scott got to the point where he simply took the attitude that if God wanted him to have anything in addition to money to pay off his debt, then God was going to have to provide for that specific need. For example, if the Lord wanted Scott to have a car, then He would need to specifically provide a car. If God wanted Scott to have a vacation, then He would specifically provide for Scott a vacation.
With this new attitude, Scott experienced God's provision in specific ways. Scott tells the story that at one point in his journey, he was praying to the Lord, crying out for the need to have some vacation time because he was feeling physically worn out and needed a time of refreshing. Two weeks after his prayer, a friend of Scott's called him and said that the Bahamian Board of Tourism had asked him to come on a free vacation all expenses paid, and his friend needed someone to go with him. That was God's provision for a vacation. Scott was also given a car during this time of paying down his debt. He experienced miracle after miracle because Scott was willing to be obedient in the area of his finances and waiting on the Lord.
Financial adjustments in a new marriage
During this period of time, Scott learned to live extremely frugally and once he had paid off his debt, he now had margin in order to save money. He was also blessed with a new wife and she was committed to living under his spiritual and financial leadership by living frugally under a tight budget. His take home pay at the time was a modest yearly income of $47,500. They committed themselves to living off 80% of that income, saving 10-12% long-term for retirement, and giving 10%. With his new wife, Amy, they committed to giving 10% of her income and using the remaining 90% to save for a house and other expenses.
Amy admits that this financial transition was not an easy one for her. She had to adjust to living Scott's frugal lifestyle. She slowly tapered off the credit card usage and learned to spend money using the cash envelope system. She testifies that it has been a great process for her to learn to live on a budget and trust God to supply their needs.
The challenge to give even more
Scott and Amy adjusted to their new marriage and financial planning, and then everything changed when they decided to attend a Generous Giving Conference. Their original intention was not to attend as part of the target audience. They went to the conference because a mutual friend was on staff with Generous Giving, and they wanted to observe what he did for the organization. They were definitely the least affluent couple in the room.
As a result of attending the conference, though, the testimonies and teaching on generous giving challenged them both, and it became a turning point in their marriage. Scott felt that God challenged him during the conference to be even more generous because he no longer was in debt. He had the financial margin in his life in order to give even more away. Scott discovered he was continuing to live a frugal lifestyle out of fear, and that he needed to do something about it. He needed to face this fear head on by aggressively giving more to God's Kingdom. The scary part for him now was how in the world was he going to approach Amy about this? They had already come to an agreement about their current giving, saving, and spending plan.
An amazing thing happened, though, after the conference. They both got into their car, and Amy looked at Scott and said, "I feel like we need to give more from my income." Scott's response was "That's funny because that is exactly what I feel God was saying to me." After talking about it some more, Amy thought they needed to give 30%, Scott thought they needed to give 50%, so they met in the middle by giving away 40%. For them, this was radical and risky. They were now living on the edge, financially.
They immediately changed their entire financial plan to reflect what they felt God was asking them to do. They knew that if they didn't respond right away, that they would probably second-guess themselves. The interesting thing for them after giving even more away was that their financial fears began to go away. They became content with the small apartment they were living in at the time and were not as concerned with saving for and buying a home on the timetable they had originally established.
God was faithful to Scott and Amy's obedience in giving back even more to Him. The Lord began replacing the income that they were now giving away. Within three weeks of their decision, a friend of theirs offered them a much bigger, better apartment that was $400 less a month than their current one! A couple of weeks after that, Amy was given a raise at work. When Scott sat down to make these new adjustments to their budget, he discovered that within six weeks of their decision to give 40% of Amy's income, God had totally replaced that money. They were still able to save the same amount for a new home as before. Both Scott and Amy thought they were taking a big, scary, and edgy risk by giving away more of their income, but in the end, there was no additional risk. God provided for their needs in amazing ways. He has also strengthened their marriage as they have have learned to rely on the Lord and pray for God to work through them in their giving in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
[Original Story Source: Generousgiving.org. The Miraculous Payoff: How a Newlywed Couple Believed God and Started Giving Beyond Their Ability]