“I have $7 for helping in the yard, $10 from my birthday, and the $5 Dad gave me just because he loves me.” Our son was counting up his money. He had a debt to pay. He had broken a neighbor’s TV and was saving up to make it right. It was a bit overwhelming to think of the debt he had to repay. So as he was embracing the reality of his consequence, his dad gave him the first $5. When my son asked why, he said, “Just because I love you”. Then every time after that moment when my son was counting up what he had saved, he would always end with the “$5 my dad gave me just because he loves me”.
We all have probably done a lot of counting in our lives. Maybe it started when we first received some birthday money, or allowance. We began to save, or spend- being delighted to lay down a dollar at the grocery store to buy a candy bar for a treat. It has probably grown and gotten a little more complicated. Some of us may even have hired professionals to help us count our money or save. We need help
If we were honest as we counted our money like my son, we would have to say that all of our money was given to us by our dad “just because He loves us”. Everything is from Him. So though it feels like only “our” money we look to Him for our cues for how to earn, save, spend and share it.
First, scripture makes it clear being rich is not necessarily better or ideal, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” Second, being poor is not necessarily better or ideal, “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Whether we are rich or poor or somewhere in between we are called to, “Honor the LORD with your wealth”
Scripture helps us recognize when we wake up each morning- money is not our hope. We go about our day and our toil is not over money, we labor so we can be “generous”. We live wanting to honor our Lord with faithfulness and righteousness all our days with little or plenty. The God of the Universe- the richest of them all- says “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
Goodness at the end of our days, our riches do not profit us nor do they help us know the Lord for who we were made. “Righteousness delivers from death”. Ultimately we know that it is Jesus- our righteousness- who delivers from death. He pays our debt, “Just because He loves us”. We trust not in our money, not in ourselves, but in Christ. This brings Him glory! This honors Him.
Today, we can take a deep breath, look for wisdom in handling the resources God gives us but rest in the deep reality that our wealth (or lack) is not what we trust. We have all we need. We can share and give away generously for we have a dad who gives us all “just because He loves us”.
Let’s worship this Father who gives us all together this Sunday!
Jen Sanders, RPC Director of Care and Connection
Prov. 28:6, 11, 20
6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.
20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
Various Others from Proverbs
3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce;
11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
14:21 Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.