2 Corinthians 9:7, ESV, states: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” This Bible verse sums up Rick and Melissa Hinnant’s success.
The Hinnants are better known for their appearance on Shark Tank, which made history with Melissa’s clothing company Grace and Lace.
“We did a million dollars overnight in sales,” Melissa shared with CBN, “and no company in the history of the five years that Shark Tank had aired before we were on had ever done that volume in sales.”
“One day I just had an idea that I wanted to knit and create a pair of socks that had lace on them,” Melissa said. “Everywhere I went people would stop and ask me, ‘Your socks, they’re so cute. Where did you get them?'” It was then that Melissa decided to sell her lacey boot socks online, which soon landed the couple on Shark Tank.
The couple wasn’t always this successful. When they first met, Rick was living off of credit cards, trying to start a few businesses, which landed him $80,000 in debt, while Melissa was in real estate.
“I ended up knocking on people’s doors to ask them could I mow their lawn, could I pick their weeds? Pretty humbling,” Rick told CBN.
While working to eliminate their debt, the Hinnants were also tithing.
“God says, ‘Test me’ and I love the challenge, and so if God says, ‘Test me’, I’m going to sign up,” Rick said.
“Even during our hardest financial times, we still always gave because I know if God is going to bless us, we have to be faithful to continue to give,” Melissa added.
Within two years, Rick was able to pay off the rest of his debt and the couple was soon debt free with a 6-figure income. Rick, however, didn’t think that it was good enough.
“He saw where all of his friends were at,” said Melissa. “And I think it kinda was a little bit of a pride issue.”
“There was this civil war inside,” Rick admitted. “Yes, I wanted to give more money, but did I want to make more money so I could have more material things? I simply asked God, ‘Do I have money before you?’ And what I heard was, ‘Yes, you do.’ I asked God to forgive me instantly.”
“I told God, ‘Whether I make a lot of money or not, I’m done striving.’ Instead of ‘What can I acquire? It became about ‘How can I help the kingdom?’ When I surrendered to God, my landscape company exploded,” Rick said.
The Hinnants have dedicated their lives to helping the poor. The couple and their three children live below their means to ensure that they are doing God’s work.
“We ended up with a $3 million year,” Rick said. “It was like God saying, ‘Look, I can do things that will blow your mind, like that.’ And now, we’ve got goals of doing around 15 million this year. But I don’t know that we would have seen the success that we have if we weren’t giving, if we weren’t tithing.”
So far, the couple has built 13 orphanages and a Freedom House in India.
“I’ll never forget meeting a 14-year-old, and he looked at me in the face and said, ‘Melissa, this is the first time I’ve ever slept on a mattress,'” Melissa shared with CBN with tears in her eyes.
For other wanting to share the same financial freedom, the Hinnants shared some words of wisdom.
“I would challenge anyone out there to put God first,” Rick said. “Where you are giving, you are blessing, you are helping, and you are changing the world for the good.”
“God isn’t looking for people who are like, ‘Give me, give me, give me!’ Everyone has to start somewhere, and it doesn’t have to be big,” Melissa added.
“It comes from the simple place of, ‘God, I want Your will done in my life.’ You might be going through a hard financial time, but God still wants your purity of heart in giving.”