Why We Give - Dad, Can We Use My Money?

By Vinny Hu

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:15‬

I am the father of 2 daughters and one of the joys of parenting is occasionally having these “ah ha” moments when I realize how God designed our relationship with Him as I interact with my kids.

A couple of years ago, I got to experience one of these moments.

From a young age, we had tried to instill the value of work in our kids by giving them a ‘wage’ for their household chores and then teaching them how to handle the money by giving, saving and spending. This means that both kids usually have some money in their ‘account’ with the Bank of Mom and Dad and they’re able to spend that money when we go out.

On this occasion, I was on a father-daughter date with my youngest. The weather was hot and we were discussing something good that had happened in her life. I don’t recall exactly what the event was (but it wasn’t particularly significant). At that moment, I wanted to have a bit of fun with her and so made a dramatic announcement “Let’s celebrate - ice cream for everyone!”

She loves ice cream and so her face immediately lit up - but the follow-up surprised me.

She asked me “Daddy, can we use my money?”

I proceeded to give her a pep talk, assuring her I had enough money to buy ice cream, explained the concept of opportunity cost and how she could save the money for something more important - like college.

She acknowledged everything I said but simply said “I know – but can we use my money?”

It took me a while to understand that she just wanted to be a bigger part of this celebration. She innately understood the joy of giving and simply wanted to participate to the fullest by giving – even though she knew I didn’t need it. Later her face beamed when the family enjoyed their ice cream because she was, in her way, part of making it happen.

At Hoboken Grace we talk about the different facets of giving – one of which is partnering with God on His mission. We also try hard to emphasize giving isn’t because we want something from you - it’s because we want something for you! Some of the most positive experiences of my faith journey have been during the act of giving and I don’t want you to miss out!

As part of God’s beautifully designed economy and church it is true that, mechanically, money flows from those that give into the church budget, which then gets used to accomplish the mission of helping people find their way back to God.

The danger of that is it is tempting to start thinking that God needs our money. Untempered, it could even feed a spirit of pride that Jesus often warned us against. But if we step back and really think about it - it’s, at best, foolish. God is the creator of the universe, the economy and owns it all already. As Dave Ramsey says “if God really needs your money, He’ll take it and there’ll be a greasy spot where you were sitting.”

Instead, I hope you will think about giving to the mission like a child that understands the joy that comes from giving. And I hope you will experience that joy as we see God honored and lives changed - knowing that you had the privilege to participate fully!