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January 17
by eleon

Why I Turned Down A One Million Dollar Gift

Seventeen years ago, when my father and I talked about planting a church in Los Angeles, a businessman with good intentions came to warn us why downtown Los Angeles was not the place to build a church. He showed us around the city and pointed to places like Orange County and said, “This is where you need to plant your church.” He went on and on about this location and that location being the center or Christian culture and how we could build a church in those locations because there were families who could support it. Finally, he stopped and said that he would even contribute $1 million dollars to the church plant in Orange County…just do not go to Los Angeles. This was in 1994, when a million dollars had even greater value. I absolutely love Orange County and the amazing culture there. However, that was not where we were called.

I am not so spiritual to tell you that it wasn’t tempting…it was! We turned down the $1 million to plant the church in downtown Los Angeles in the middle of a gang-infested community next to a liquor store/market. At first, it felt like the greatest mistake of our life. No money, no resources, just a dream of what the community can be. It was a troubling start, proving everyone right that you couldn’t build a great church in this community. However, I learned that when you don’t compromise your calling, you open the door for blessings that your “best case scenario” could never describe.


What we say “NO” to is what can define the opportunities to which we can one day say “YES.”. Just because something screams out, “Take the fast result,” doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Years have gone by and we have been blessed far beyond anything that we could have received taking the fast way, the quick bolt of provision, and have seen God do a sustaining miracle. A building worth $52 million and hundreds of millions poured into the community over the years. Hold onto your dream and don’t let any shortcuts get in the way of that on which God has His hand. In the end, what God’s hand is on will prosper.

Turning down $1 million doesn’t make a lot of sense in the natural but in the supernatural, it makes a lot of sense. A God-given dream is too important to squander for an easier way out. If it’s a harder way and it’s God’s plan for your life then take that narrow road that leads to life, not just for eternity, but in the pursuit of our calling.

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