Generosity and Someone Else’s Money

“Guys, you know that special offering we’re having at church?  Can I give some money to it this Sunday?”

I was thrilled to hear that one of my young sons cared enough about missions to give money for it.  My wife was just as happy as I was and she jumped at the chance to give him the go ahead.

“You bet, buddy.  When we get home, we’ll get some money out of your bank and take it with us to church tomorrow.”

There was no response.

Finally, my son broke the silence.

“But, mom…”

“But, mom?”  He must not want to wait until tomorrow to give his money.  No problem.  We can just go by the church and let him put his money in early.  He probably doesn’t want to make a scene.

“But, mom.  Do I have to use my money?  I though you could just give me some.”

And that’s when we had a short lesson on giving.

It’s also when I realized that my son just might grow up to be a United States Senator.  After all, he’s already learned how much easier it is to be generous with someone else’s money than it is with his own.

But this pseudo-generosity isn’t just a government problem.  It’s a church one too.  Many Christians know that taking the gospel to the world, building orphanages, and keeping the lights on in the church building requires money.  And they’re okay with this.  Just as long as it’s not their money that’s required.  These are the people who my friend Marty Duren says complain about welfare abuse but have been mooching off of their church’s welfare for years.

The answer is not just giving more or even giving everything you have.  If you’re heart isn’t right and you’re not loving like you should, you can get rid of everything you own and still be disobedient (1 Corinthians 13).  And you won’t have a TV either.  Instead, we should live knowing that none of what we have really belongs to us anyway.  This means that we should live like managers instead of owners (Matthew 25:14-30).

That day in the car, my son made it clear that he wasn’t interested in giving his money and that he would much rather give ours.  What he didn’t understand was that all of the money in his bank was ours.  In the strictest sense, none of it is really his.

This is a lesson that Christians need to continually teach to themselves.  Our retirement plans, paychecks, and savings accounts really don’t belong to us.  Jesus gives them to us for greater purposes than our own.

None of our money really is our money.

All of it is his.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be generous with someone else’s money.