Lou is a rare creature – a truly generous man who joyfully gives away most of his time, energy and money.
He believes everything he owns has been given to him by God and that it is an honour to give away his good fortune.
He means it literally. The retired accountant and his wife Susie have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charitable causes, including World Vision. Now on a part pension, they live simply and give away 80 per cent of everything they earn.
“Every day, I realise that, because we give, there are thousands of people out there who have fresh water in their lives,” said Lou.
“It’s a matter of trust,” Lou told me recently. “We trust that God will provide all we need and believe that giving should be part of all people who call themselves Christians.” The Bible says in Proverbs 11:25, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Lou knows the truth of that. Over the years he found that the more money he gave, the more he would receive. And so, his giving increased dramatically.
After he retired, Lou had a nest egg of around $100,000.
He said, “I felt guilty that I had that nest egg because it meant I didn’t trust that God would provide for me. I had to get rid of the money and say ‘I trust in the Lord.’ I never looked back.”
Lou’s passion is providing clean water for the world’s poor. Susie’s passion is child protection.
“Every day, I realise that, because we give, there are thousands of people out there who have fresh water in their lives,” said Lou. “It’s greater than going on a world trip or having a nice new car. Knowing that joy of being able to give and remembering to love my neighbours – even those I do not know – makes me elated.”
Trust is a major quality among the most generous people I’ve met. As Lou states: “You can have faith but can’t go forward without trust in God.”
Lou and Susie are an inspiration at a time when a renewed spirit of generosity is so sorely needed.
They understand God’s gracious provision for the world. They have an image of the way our planet should be, and strive to help achieve that end.
Tim Costello is chief advocate of World Vision Australia.