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 Rajiv Kumaraswamy from Indonesia.
1. Jesus Gives Purpose to Our Giving.
“From the time we were very young,” says Rajiv, “the value of helping others was instilled into me from my family. I was raised as a Buddhist in Sri Lanka.” Rajiv continued, “My family there is very philanthropic. My great grandfather donated schools, built the biggest public maternity hospital and donated it to the government.” Rajiv shared that his mother was involved in the ‘Friend in Need Society,’ which began the Jaipur Foot Program to provide low-cost artificial limbs. Rajiv explains, “They needed limbs because of birth defects, or accidents, or the Civil War we faced from 1983 to 2009.”
This giving didn’t have a religious connotation for Rajiv. But then he married a Christian and, his work in the energy industry landed him in Houston, where he found Jesus. “I realized that Jesus really is my Lord and Savior. He began to give me direction about what to do. That brought more purpose to my giving.”
When I give to God, I know that the Kingdom is getting stronger.
2. Give to Multiply.
“Now I want to give for God’s Kingdom,” Rajiv says. “When I give to God, I know that the Kingdom is getting stronger. When I give to someone who’s called to ministry, they’re multipliers. They’re reaching people who will reach people.” Rajiv invests his personal time, energy, and resources in ministering to men.
“Men’s ministry was powerful in my life,” Rajiv says. “When I was feeling empty and needed direction it was other men in the Men’s Group who guided and corrected me. My desire is to be able to bring others along in the Lord.” Rajiv helped his pastor in London start a men’s ministry, and more recently started one in Jakarta. Despite his busy schedule as a rising executive, Rajiv pours his life into discipling men.
“Some men resist men’s ministry,” says Rajiv. “They try to fight their problems on their own. Coming together can be hard at first. The questions are personal, but once you get close and you’re praying for each other, you realize that there’s strength in numbers. Really quickly, you’re a tight group.”
3. Proximity Brings Generosity.
Walking closely with men brings Rajiv into contact with their immediate needs. “Of course, we do things like tithing,” says Rajiv, “but we realized that sometimes other families we know need direct help, so we pray about it and give when there’s difficulty. When you know someone has a challenge and they’re trying to serve the Lord, then you give and pray to the Lord and say ‘please make this bountiful to this person.’”
Rajiv shared the group’s most recent project: “Our Men’s Ministry just completed the ‘40 Days in the Word’ program from Rick Warren. Part of the program was to initiate and carry out a Micah 6:8 project. The project our men selected was to provide assistance for around 400 refugees who are currently living on the street in Jakarta while having their documentation processed. We have provided the refugees with food as well as planning to conduct a series of medical clinics over the next few months.
“At some point, you realize that you can give so much more than a tithe,” says Rajiv. “You feel peace, like ‘I don’t need to worry about myself.’” As Rajiv’s family has become more generous, they’ve realized that God’s promises are true. Rajiv says, “God is taking care of me, I know the Lord is in control, I won’t be in need. Growing up, I didn’t have that peace, but now I’m at peace.”
Rajiv loves to give to:
The Kumaraswamy family gives its time, talent and treasure to a vibrant English-speaking church community in Jakarta, International English Services (EIS). IES has outstanding programs for young adults and children, and has home groups meeting around the city throughout the week. “English speaking is growing quickly in Jakarta,” says Rajiv, “and IES will be a major player in reaching that growing group.”
In addition to the church’s formal programs, Rajiv leads a ministry to business leaders. “A lot of people at IES are professionals,” says Rajiv. “They come from established families and want to talk about how the Gospel interacts with our calling as business people.” “We also realized that it’s a way to bring people who are not attending church,” Rajiv notes. “It brings them to an event that has God in it. Our speakers are Christians and we open in prayer, but it’s also safe for bringing friends. We’ve talked about generosity in that group; We’ve had a good response and it creates a new point of connection. For me, the takeaway is making that connection with people.”