My dad might have failed in a lot of ways, but managing money wasn’t one of them. He knew exactly how much he had and what it was being used for. Every payday, he’d dole out my dollar allowance, put a twenty in the offering envelope, and put that big ole’ wallet back in his pocket. As a kid my dad loaned me money a few times, but gave me money only once…the week my mom had breast cancer surgery. He didn’t want to worry about feeding a teenager so he handed me $20 and said, “Take care of yourself this week”. He was scared. He needed to be with her.
I followed in his footsteps, using Ron Blue’s “envelope” system to teach my kids to manage their money. They made mistakes but overall, they did okay.
But when they went off to college, I noticed a strange phenomenon. When we’d visit and offer to take them out to eat, they’d start inviting people. Come one, come all! It was like a birthday celebration. There would be a caravan to the restaurant. They’d have to bring out the wobbly tables and push them together for everyone to sit together. Being at one table was important. Even a college kid might feel guilty ordering up a feast on someone’s tab they weren’t sitting with. Kids ordered food like protesters coming off hunger strikes. Appetizers. Desserts. You name it.
I finally figured out there’s two kinds of money in the economy of college students. Their money and daddy’s money. When it’s their money, they’re tight. They use coupons. They check prices. They hold back…stretch it out. But when it’s daddy’s money, they’re wide open. Enjoy! No restraint. Eat, drink and be merry! (For tomorrow we’ll be back on OUR money!) Not totally careless, but way different from their own.
So what’s the lesson here?
It’s ALL Daddy’s money.
All our money comes from God and it all belongs to Him. Every spending decision we make has a spiritual component. Just because we gave our tithe and met our giving goal doesn’t mean we should carelessly throw the rest away. I can visualize Jesus enjoying the blessings of life. He occasionally modeled that when He was here. But I can’t see him in Vegas playing high-stakes poker with His Daddy’s money. Can you?
We may be using God’s money to feed appetites that come back and kill us. We’re modeling for our kids as we decide how we spend God’s money. And we’re voting for the products we buy with the money we spend. Scary huh?
There’s not two currencies. Just one. And Christ-followers believe in stewardship, not ownership. Jesus’ parable of the talents says there’ll be a day when the Master returns and requires an accounting for what we did with our time, talent and treasure.
Let’s be thoughtful with Daddy’s money.
Question: Do you believe it’s all “Daddy’s money”? Does that influence your spending decisions?
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