Three Lessons from Jonathan Onigbinde, Nigeria

Each month, we introduce you to a Christian who is on the generosity path, and we ask them what God’s taught them about giving.

This month, meet Jonathan Onigbinde from Nigeria.

NABFL is a food processing company, manufacturing ice cream, fruit drinks, biscuits, and other food items. Jonathan’s company is part of the ONIGBINDE Group of companies in Nigeria, of which Jonathan also is a senior director. Jonathan is a National Vice President of MAN (Manufacturers Association of Nigeria). He has been happily married to Charity for 38 years. They have four successful adult children and 2 adorable grands.

1. Ask Why He Has Given Us So Much. 

“My family started a business a number of years ago,” Jonathan explains. “My father brought us into the business right from an early age and I learned from father about generosity. He has gone to be with the Lord, but he taught us about tithing and offering and then as we saw the needs around us, we moved beyond day-to-day tithes and offerings into asking, ‘Lord, why have you given me so much and what should I do with it?’ If God owns everything, then I can’t just buy a bigger house, a bigger car. We must understand contentment and then we give considerable amounts from residual income after our needs are met.”

We must understand contentment and then we give considerable amounts from residual income after our needs are met.

2. Don’t Name Someone Else’s Percentage.

“A man asked me last week, ‘What percentage should I give?’” Jonathan tried to explain that the man needed to determine that for himself. But the man insisted: “‘I know I can trust you. What percentage should I give?’” Jonathan explains, “People want that certainty. But we encourage people to understand obedience, that it’s not a question of the quantum of moneys, so much as obedience. Then it’s not so much how much we give, but how much we keep. The Lord is generous with us and he encourages us to be like him. If it belongs to the Lord, what does the Lord want?”

3. Give to Ministries Committed to Transparency.

“A lot of giving is done by faith and trust in the church and the leadership and seeing their track record,” says Jonathan. “There are still checks and balances that we try to introduce. We’re starting the African Council for Accountability and Accreditation (AfCAA) and we have a lot to learn from the American ECFA [Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability], so we’re working closely with them. We encourage interdependence between the giver and the ministry, and we encourage regular reporting so that there is mutual trust and understanding.”

Jonathan loves to give to:

Jonathan says, “We love to give to a number of charities, especially where the weak, the poor, the helpless (e.g., children, orphans) are taken care of. But most of all, I love to give to the Great Commission Movement. It’s Nigeria’s equivalent of Campus Crusade for Christ (or CRU).” The Great Commission Movement, Nigeria, is winning people to Christ, building disciples, and sending people out to multiply. When asked why he loved the Great Commission Movement, Jonathan says, “It seems to me that support should often go to where one is sure that maximum impact is achieved, especially in saving souls.”

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