By Tom Brown – Minister, Public Speaker, Radio Personality
I have been blessed in my profession as a radio broadcaster to be on the front-line witnessing generosity for all kinds of causes. Examples include everything from sponsoring children through to adulthood, purchasing an ultrasound machine for a pregnancy center, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and even funding for the most basic need of clean water. As I have observed God working through His children, I have formulated a phrase “Using God’s Math.” To succinctly illustrate this principle, I have an example of a gift that was made that multiplied over and over again.
A new golf course was opening on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, in a town called Maricopa. The drive was 40 – 50 minutes away depending on your exact starting point in Phoenix. With the drive and the fact that there were over 150 golf courses already in the Phoenix Metro area, the new course needed to get people out to play. A local charity was having a silent auction, so the new course generously donated 144 rounds of golf for the event, thinking that would be at least a hundred golfers who would experience the new course at little cost to them. Now for those of you that do not golf, 144 rounds are considered the maximum number for a course to be full for a tournament or event; two foursomes on each of the 18 holes. For the new course that was not very busy anyway, a half day of green fees was not much of a sacrifice. As word spread of the donation, it turned out that several thousand people learned about the golf course, equaling thousands of dollars of advertising that they did not have to spend. And of course, the course received a tax credit for the donation, recouping even more value for the gift.
At the charity’s dinner and silent auction, with several hundred in attendance, the golf course’s donation was the talk of the event. After a round of vigorous bidding a local businessman won the bid for the rounds of golf, enriching the local charity that hosted the silent auction with a very large monetary donation. Much was made of his large donation and the charity’s fundraising goal was greatly exceeded. The bid winning businessman likewise received a tax credit, but he was not done. He then donated the 144 rounds of golf to a homeless shelter in Phoenix!
That homeless shelter had been planning a fundraising golf tournament and were trying to determine where they might be able to hold an event that was attractive to potential donors but at a price they could afford with their meager budget. Upon receiving the donation from the generous businessman, they realized that they “needed to dream bigger.” Suddenly their fundraiser went from a small event where they hoped to raise a few thousand dollars. to an event that became a top tier golf event in Phoenix that year. With the low cost to them and the upgraded venue, they were able to raise the amount they could ask attendees for participation. They were able to attract sponsors for each hole, sponsorships for the longest drive and the closest to the hole, and other event competitions. This event raised so much more money than was in their budget, they themselves were able to have a fundraising dinner that multiplied the tens of thousands raised again.
As exciting as this example is in and of itself, we know God is even more interested in capturing the heart of people than the allocation of finances, so I want to share what I believe is the most important part of the story. There were many people blessed by the homeless shelter in Phoenix that year and years following. I know the story of one individual who was saved that year. He was formerly a successful businessman who had succumbed to an addiction to drugs and alcohol. He ended up on the street, destitute in every way. He was arrested but was granted entry into the recovery program that was a part of the homeless shelter. He found God in that program. He was given hope and another chance. Eternity was changed for that man! He gave his heart and his talents to serving Jesus Christ. When I checked in with him a few years later he was the director of a recovery program that was housing over 20 men every 90 days. Again, eternity changing for multiple individuals. That is just one example of one life redeemed that was made possible by one donation, that had hardly cost the donor anything, which God took and multiplied over and over again. The shelter sees hundreds of people every year and continues to grow.
Won’t you give to God and see Him multiply it into eternity?