Jason: Our organization helps families with the financial costs of adoption, and we’ve been so encouraged and helped by your writing through The Treasure Principle. What would be your advice to Christians as they process the money issue when considering adoption? It’s just such a huge, huge obstacle and hurdle for many and a huge opportunity to trust in the Lord for the family. Also what so many families find is that friends and church and those around them want to be a part of it financially as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts for Christians who are taking that step of faith.
Randy: Right, the money issue certainly is a big obstacle. There a couple of different ways I would approach that. One, before even talking about the issue of other people giving, I think that those who believe God has called them to something should be willing to make personal sacrifices to see that happen. The average person, and certainly most Christians in our culture have adopted a lifestyle in which they are spending much more money than they have to spend. There are many people who spend all the money that comes in. Expenditures always rise to meet income. Or let’s say they’re givers, let’s say they’re tithers. Most Christians tragically don’t give a minimum of ten percent. In my opinion, most Christians in this most affluent society in human history should be giving considerably more than ten percent and many people should be giving thirty, forty, fifty, seventy, eighty, ninety percent depending on the level of income God has blessed them with. That’s where I advocate people drawing that finish line and choosing the amount. Whether it’s $40,000 a year or $60,000 or $80,000 or $100,000 or less than $40,000, whatever level they choose where they say, “You know what, this is all we need because we don’t need new cars, we don’t need a bigger house, we don’t need to go out to restaurants all the time. We don’t need to spend $4.00 a day on a latte, we don’t need to do this, we don’t need to do that.” So we can find in our budget, we can find in our lifestyle a great deal of money that we think we don’t have. The same way that we can find a great deal of time that we think we don’t have, and the way we do that is turn off the television. So all of a sudden you turn off the TV and wow, I have thirty hours more per week, depending on how much time is spent watching TV. It’s exactly the same with money. I have talked with families that want to adopt and they say, “We just don’t think we can afford it.” I say, “How much do you want to adopt?” It’s like other decisions that we make. “Adoption itself is a sacrifice and we don’t want to sacrifice beyond that to have to find all kinds of other ways to cut back because most people live at a higher level of income than we do.” Well, you’re not most people. If God has called you to this He has called you to make sacrifices to make this happen. That’s what I would say to the person who wants to adopt or is considering adopting. I would raise the bar for them and say look at what God has already provided for you. Look at what assets you could liquidate. In some cases, you’ve got people who are saying they can’t afford to adopt and they have a recreational vehicle sitting in the driveway. They have this or that in the garage, they have a second home somewhere, they have a beach house. Well folks, you don’t have to worry about paying for the cost of the adoption. You own a beach house! Sell it! I’m not trying to be demeaning when I say this, but I mean, come on, wake up and smell the coffee. It doesn’t have to be the $4.00 latte that you’re smelling either. My point is, that’s where I would begin with a person who is considering adopting, but the cost is significant.
Now let’s move over to the question you’re really asking, which is what about the people of God as a whole? Should they be challenged to get involved and support other people in the body of Christ? In their own church first and foremost probably, but also perhaps in other places and other churches where there aren’t sufficient resources. Well I would say absolutely! In The Treasure Principle I talk about the idea that you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead, which is just a paraphrase of what Jesus is saying. Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moss and rust corrupt, or thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven that aren’t going to be destroyed. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Well what happens when we invest the treasure that God has put into our hands in a worthy enterprise? What happens when we invest our lives in church planting in India, or by giving financially to church planting? What happens when we invest the money God has entrusted to us in Bible translation and world evangelism and helping street children and pro-life ministries? Well, Jesus says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. So our heart will follow where we put our treasure. Nancy and I have helped people adopt even though God, we did not feel, led us to adopt. We still have ownership and vested interest in adoption because we have helped others in that process. So how do you get a heart for something? Jesus says you give to it. So if I buy up shares of Microsoft, I have a heart for Microsoft. If I give to God’s kingdom, I am buying up shares in the kingdom of God. If I give toward adoption I am gaining vested interest in adoption. Does that make sense?