96-year-old Paul Finke knows a thing or two about sacrifice. He learned it from his father. As the second oldest of seven children, family finances were usually spread thin, as his father’s income often fell short of meeting family needs. Yet, his parents regularly gave financially to God’s work through the local church.
“My parents were Christians and raised us in the admonition of the Lord. My father led by example,” he remembers fondly. “He practiced tithing, even though his income was meager.”
One particular event that taught him the principle of giving is etched in his mind, even to this day. When he was 10 years old, his older brother asked his father how he could afford to tithe when his income is already less than the family expenses.
His father simply replied, “I can’t afford not to. I tried it the other way, and that was worse.”
Just two years after that conversation, Finke received Jesus as his Lord and Savior at a church revival. Several years after that, he graduated from high school in the heart of the Great Depression.
He had the opportunity to go to college on a full scholarship, but felt the need to turn it down to stay home, work, and contribute to the family finances. He began a job driving a grocery delivery truck for a neighborhood store for $15 a week.
In the meantime, his father quit his job at the local bank and to open a real estate business. Although the work was hard and the income was uncertain, his father continued the business. Three years later, both Finke and his brother joined him in the venture.
Finke witnessed the provisional power of God firsthand. “The real estate business prospered with God’s help. Dad insisted on a prayer session each morning. Sometimes, people would knock on the door during that time. We would tell them we weren’t open, but they were welcome to join us for devotional time. Competitors thought it was very strange,” he remembered.
Some years later, Finke’s father retired from the business and then passed away, leaving him and his brother in charge of carrying on. Then, his brother retired, leaving Finke with the decision to close up the business or continue. He chose the latter.
There was one employee who continued to work with Finke. In 1997 when she decided to retire, he wanted to provide her with a small retirement benefit. When he presented his idea to her, she suggested BGEA as a beneficiary of her retirement funds.
“I contacted BGEA and a representative came to visit me. I was so impressed with the integrity of BGEA and way he handled things, there began a connection that has lasted until the present time,” said Finke.
In 2007, after 75 years of successful business, Finke shut down the real estate company (which had become a corporation). Combined with his passion for giving and his impression of BGEA, he had company assets transferred to BGEA. “God’s hand has been the guiding force these many years, and thanks to him I have been greatly blessed.”
Finke has some sound advice for other givers.
“If you’re giving to receive something back you’re giving for the wrong reason. Don’t give. If you’re giving because you want to glorify God and help people, there’s no better opportunity to do this than to give,” he explained.
“The Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive. I’ve been giving all my life because of that one truth.”