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 Juerg and Benzli Opprecht from Switzerland.
In the 1950s, Juerg’s father invented a revolutionary way to improve the safety, cost and efficiency of cans. As the business was growing, Juerg learned entrepreneurship and generosity as he saw his father personally meet their employees’ needs.
1. Despite What Others Say, Fulfill Your Commitment to the Lord.
After selling his family’s company, the Opprechts decided to give one third of the proceeds to the work of the Lord. Juerg says, “My tax advisor told me, ‘Of course, you can do that, but you should do it slowly so that you can optimize tax advantages.’” Eleven years later, Juerg was diagnosed with cancer. “Laying in my bed in the hospital, I realized I had not yet completely fulfilled my commitment. I didn’t know how much longer I would have to live, so I asked my family to join me and said, ‘I want to do everything I can to fulfill this commitment as quickly as possible.’”
Giving is such a joy and it’s such a blessing to be generous.
2. Give the Best to the Lord.
“We own quite a bit of real estate,” says Benzli, “and we decided to give from that real estate.” Juerg adds, “I was reminded of the verse that says we should give from our first fruit, we should give the very best to the Lord. Real giving provides a lot of joy. So I decided to give my best pieces of real estate to the foundation.” It wasn’t easy. “I had to breathe deeply when I took that position, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t just want to fulfill that commitment, but to give with love and generosity.” Benzli adds, “Giving is such a joy and it’s such a blessing to be generous.”
3. Exercise Wisdom in Giving to Your Local Church.
Large givers often struggle with how to give to their local church. The Opprechts offer this counsel. “If we gave our tithe to the church, it would be too dominating,” explains Benzli. “So we met with our pastor and agreed together,” says Juerg “and we all feared there would be a kind of dependence, and the pastor agreed. So we give some to the church on a monthly basis, and also to those who start ministries from our church.” Benzli adds, “and we give the rest of our tithes and offerings to the foundation, where we give to Christians and Christian organizations.”
The Opprechts love to give to:
In 1997 Juerg Opprecht was invited to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to lead a workshop on How to start your own business. This was five years after the fall of the Sovjet Union. With the political change, the economy also experienced a downturn.
“Can you help us so that we can help ourselves?” That was the urgent need they expressed again and again. Juerg Opprecht knew that he had the resources to help and so it became a responsibility. This gave birth to the Business Professionals Network.
The BPN Foundation supports competent entrepreneurs with coaching, teaching and funding to help them turn their plans and ideas into healthy small and mid-sized businesses. BPN operates in hard places, like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the nation of Georgia. “This creates businesses that can support the church and the community by providing jobs,” says Juerg.