Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, God has completely blown open my thoughts about money in the last two weeks. I’ve always heard that “all money is God’s money” but I have never really believed it. Sure, it’s God’s money but He wants me to enjoy life so if I want to spend it on Starbucks and J.Crew and eating out for lunch and fancy desserts at dinner then that’s cool, right?

Hmmm…. Well, Xaris and Laura have really challenged me to be a better steward. But even more than that, I have been floored in my fundraising efforts for a mission trip I am going on to a Moroccan orphanage.

My first thought when I decided to go was, “Well, if I can spare the money to go, then by all means I will but I’m not going to ASK people for money. In this economy??? Money is precious to people…. I’m not going to ask for them to give me money to go on a mission trip!”

But when I got to the root of why I felt that way, I realized it was because of my deep, deep pride. I was raised to believe, subconsciously, that you pay for yourself. You are generous with what you have. You give to others who are less fortunate, but you never allow your needs to be met by others. You just get it together and make enough money to do whatever you want to do and to help other people. But we do not ASK other people for money. They could be offended by your asking. They could think you are lazy and unable to pay for yourself. And they might even think, oh dear, that you are selfish.

My Beth Moore Bible study yesterday asked the question: “When was the last time you had to risk losing face to save something more precious than pride?” I realized that I cared way too much about people thinking I was totally selfish to ask for money to actually do it when I knew God wanted me to.

And the thing that has amazed me about this entire process, is that the people who are so generous are people who have very little. And I have plenty. And I am not living nearly as freely with the knowledge that my money is God’s money and I can give it to others knowing that God will take care of my needs. Ouch.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."-
Mark 4:41-44

I have had people I do not even know contact me saying they would love to give to me. Really?? People I’ve never met?? Do I SEEK OUT ways to further advance God’s kingdom here on earth. No way. If you ask me I’ll consider whether or not giving you money will cut into my Starbucks/J.Crew/eating out/broadway show account and if it doesn’t, I’ll give you some dough. But do I SEEK OUT ways to give my money to other people with a generous heart? Nope. Double ouch.

I credit Xaris and Laura for pointing out to me that we dwell on Bible verses about purity and adultery, violence and bitterness, dishonesty, etc. and don’t tolerate those sins. But Jesus talks about being generous and sacrificial with your money a lot and we rarely consider anything less than that intolerable among Christians.

So, I’m extremely grateful for all of this fundraising business. I’m extremely grateful to the number of people who have given to me and shown me that the body of Christ is a body. A body which cannot function without us being codependent on each other. Without my needs being intertwined with your needs. I am thankful that I have been shown that I do not have to be ashamed of “losing face” to ask the body for help for what God calls me to do. And I am thankful that those who have given to me in times of non-plenty (which is probably anyone right about now) will be blessed because they are stepping out in faith that God is going to take care of their financial needs. Wow.

Have I got this figured out?
Will I continue to struggle with being selfish with my money and drinking overpriced Starbucks coffee?
Of course.

But at least now, I recognize that there is a problem of 1) pride in asking for money and 2) giving to others only when it is not sacrificial.
At least now I’m beginning to internalize that God calls me to be a generous giver in times of plenty and in scarcity. And that when I give sacrificially in times of scarcity like the widow who gave everything, my faith will be tested, strengthened and purified.

(P.S. I heard a priest once give a homily on "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. What a great book.)


Jas said...

Hmm, I really needed to read that!

Teresa Claire said...

I love the idea of being a "steward." AND, almost utterly unrelated, I watched an episode of veggie tales yesterday with a three year old and I learned a lot from talking carrots. Life is good.