1. Test God.
Gerard asks, “Why is God Himself asking us to test Him? Because He wants to reveal something to us. He asks us to test Him so He can express His greatness.” Geraldine adds, “That’s Malachi 3:10. Test the Lord. If you don’t let go, you’re not giving Him a test.” God has passed the test repeatedly in the Lows’ life. “At the beginning of each year, we pray and decide how much to give for the year,” says Gerard. Then a crisis comes, like 1997, 2001 or 2008 with uncertainty and lost jobs.
The Lows kept giving their pledge in faith even if it meant having to dig into their savings. Gerard says, “We’re accountants by training, so we started a spreadsheet of what we’ve promised to give to God. Each time we almost ran out of money to give to God, God restores our lost income and provides the means for us to continue giving. I’ve proven it in my spreadsheet.” Geraldine jokes, “I don’t need Gerard’s spreadsheet. But if it grows his faith, that’s great.”
2. Relationship Is the Heart of Christian Giving.
“We like to give to specific places where we know it’s anchored by a person we know,” Gerard says. “Yes, the key is we give to people,” adds Geraldine. “It’s very important that we understand who is behind it. We need to feel the accountability,” Geraldine says. For the Lows, the relationship provides accountability and transparency. Gerard says, “It’s OK to give to a mission statement, but that’s just a mission statement. We need to go behind that and see the people behind it. We need to know that the money is going to the max it could be.”
3. Be Wise with Gifts and Loans to Friends.
In southeast Asia, a besetting sin is gambling, particularly among men. Christians there wonder how to restore Christian friends with gambling habits. One friend told us he has gone to gambling addicts’ loan sharks to personally renegotiate their debts! “If you’re not careful,” says Gerard, “helping someone with a gambling habit is a bottomless pit. When the man asks for money, I first ask whether they’ve informed their family. We need to bring it out into the light. That’s a tool we use as a filter. If we help, we endeavour to give the money to the wife instead to make sure the money goes to the needs of the family. We also limit the dollar amount and have a disciplined schedule for repayment.”