1. Bring in the Full Tithe. In 2005, Roger says that he wasn’t following biblical teaching in any area of life, but decided to start with money. “It's rather an unusual decision to start following biblical teaching in the area of money first, which for most people, it's the last area of surrender.” Having heard a talk on Malachi 3 and bringing in the full tithe, Roger decided to accept God’s invitation to “test me in this.” He describes what happened next:
“I filled out an auto-pay form. I put down 1% of my base salary. That month went by. I didn't feel the pain. Let's change the auto-pay instruction again. I moved to 2%. Next month, no pain. I changed to 5%, still no impact. By the fourth month I moved it to 10%. At that point, I was patting myself on the shoulder saying, ‘Roger, you have arrived. You are now tithing.’”
As an investment banker, Roger’s compensation was complicated. Some comp was cash upfront; other comp was vested shares or options. He says, “It took me two years to grapple with this issue. I ended up tithing in full whether it's cash, shares, or vested, or unvested.”
2. Celebrate the Year of Jubilee. In 2007, Roger met a man who owed three years’ wages to a loan shark. If the man didn’t repay within 72 hours, the loan shark would do him bodily harm. “I thought God must have a reason for me meeting this individual,” says Roger. “Seeing his helplessness, I couldn't justify walking away. I asked him a few due diligence questions and then gave him the money in full, upfront at zero interest.”
The debtor agreed to pay back over 60 monthly installments. The first year, the repayments took. “Every first Sunday of the month, he would come up and give me an envelope,” says Roger, “but then it started to slow a little bit.” Roger wasn’t sure what to do.
“Can I even talk to him about this or should I just wait silently and pretend that everything is okay?” Roger wondered. “Am I even allowed to feel angry about this?” “I saw a lot of parallels in the parable of the unmerciful servant,” says Roger, “I saw myself as the King's servant, who owed Him literally a trillion dollars in gold. And this person owed me just a few silver coins. So I had no right to choke him.”
“In 2014, I heard this voice,” he says. The voice asked, “When did you first grant that loan?” It had been 2007.
“I knew exactly why the Holy Spirit had asked me that question,” says Roger. “It was the year of debt forgiveness. This is God telling me, reminding me, about debt forgiveness. So I approached him and said, ‘Brother, it's canceled. Let's just rip up the deal.’ I got to do that gladly.”
3. When You Hear God’s Voice, Do It. One Sunday at church, Roger saw a guy holding a saxophone case who looked just like the musician Kenny G—but wasn’t. Roger introduced himself and, thinking the worship band definitely could use help, Roger connected him to the band.
As Roger began to walk away, he heard God again: “Give him money.” Roger said, “I opened my wallet. I had two 500 Hong Kong dollar notes. I walked back to him and said, ‘Can we step aside? There's something I want to talk to you about.’ Roger learned the man’s background and then gave him the money.
As they parted ways, Roger said, “I haven’t seen you before. What brought you to our church today?”. Kenny said, “I came to this church this morning because God told me that someone was going to give me money here.”
Roger loves to give to…
Nehemiah Global Initiative protects vulnerable refugees. Its leader, Kenneth Bae, was detained in North Korea for two years, and then started NGI to serve North Korean defectors. NGI helps them thrive physically and spiritually as they seek refuge and rebuild their lives in South Korea.
“He came to Hong Kong last year,” says Roger. “A brother at church organized a small dinner and Kenneth talked to us about NGI. As he was speaking, I heard another voice. It was a very specific amount—in US dollars. My gut reaction was, ‘Lord, no, please.” The amount made Roger uncomfortable and would have been 18 percent of his salary.”
Two months later, the dinner organizer sent out an email with follow-up information. “It contained a very specific US dollar amount. That amount was exactly the same as what I had heard two months ago at the dinner,” says Roger. “I’ve learned not to nickel and dime God, but just to do as I’m told.”