Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems | On Learning Generosity

Image of Cartoon About Giving

Money and sex–the top reasons couples get divorced.

Michael and I returned from our honeymoon at the peak of marital bliss; only to look closely at the fact that our wedding drained both of our savings accounts and we probably couldn’t have chosen a worse time financially to get married. I was admittedly a little scared. All of a sudden I had a new last name, wifely duties, & a joint checking account?!

We made several ‘tough’ decisions early on that we believe will benefit our relationship long-term. One of the decisions was that no matter how much money we have or don’t have, we will give generously. The Bible teaches 10% and others argue more, so we decided to make that our minimum. Have you ever sat down and calculated how much 10% of your income is? It’s more than you think.

Why you might be wondering?! Shouldn’t we be saving for our dream house? What about future kids? I wondered if we could be exempt from giving because of our lack of funds.

Why should you give away your hard-earned money? Questions I’ve asked: Shouldn’t we be saving for our dream house? What about future kids? Can I be exempt from the 10% giving because we are ‘poor’?

Yes, there is a great need almost on every street corner. There are Compassion International children who need $38/month to go to school and eat and receive proper health care. There are many health clinics in around the world in desperate need of funding. There are prostitutes in China (Red Light Outreach) who need a chance to learn a trade to be able to support their families without selling their bodies.

Michael and I give 10% of our income  for yet another reason. We don’t want money to control us. We don’t want to hold so tightly onto our “hard-earned money” that it starts to define us. And we believe that by keeping an open hand on our money, we will grow, learn, and change into the people we were created to be. Do you know people who can never have enough? Who are always complaining about money no matter how much they have? Risking that type of attitude is not an option as far as we are concerned.

The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil. It doesn’t say money is the root of all evil (so you can be rich and rest easy)…but the love of money leads to evil. It also doesn’t say the love of sex is the root of all evil. There is something powerful in what we spend our money on–it shows where our hearts are.

Can I be honest? I love nice things. I love designer jeans. I would love to go to fancy dinners often and sip overpriced cocktails. It is really hard for me to not compare myself to others who have more (see Are You Satisfied | Dream Houses, Dream Spouses). I’m guessing many of you can relate.

Michael and I still occasionally argue about money and the first two months were hard trying to make ends meet. (Hear me that we are far from perfect). However, we believe that by starting our marriage with giving, serving, and loving hands–we won’t be as susceptible down the road. We won’t risk missing the important things in life because we’re so focused on our growing or diminishing bank account.

Why give generously? Because nothing you can buy or no amount in your savings account can beat getting a letter from a child you’ve sent to school in a country you can’t pronounce. Because you want your character to define you, not your paycheck or your 401K.

Remember in the movie The Blind Side–the story of an upper class white family who adopts a high school age orphan? One scene,Sandra Bullock is at a country club luncheon and a group of women in pearls tell her, “You are changing that boy’s life.”

She looks back at them shakes her head, and calmly responds. “No. He’s changing mine.”

Image of The Blind Side

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Comments
9 Responses to “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems | On Learning Generosity”
  1. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8).

    I love the image of the potter’s hands shaping and molding his masterpiece between his hands. I also find it so interesting and amazing that clay pottery shrinks by approximately 10% after being fired. Therefore, the potter creates his masterpiece with this 10% shrinkage in mind.

    I believe God also provides with this in mind. He is the Potter and we are the clay! He forms us lovingly and provides for us generously. He longs for us to be good stewards. His provisions are sufficient despite the fact that they will shrink (perhaps by 10%) as we give back to the church and those in need.

    I agree that we are called to live open handedly. I additionally believe that this way of living is the only way that we can be an active participant in God’s sanctification of our character.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Such truth! Coming from a wise woman:) Thanks for commenting and I love that you taught on the subject last weekend!

      the potter and clay analogy is AMAZING. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree 100%. I’ve always been of the opinion that tithing isn’t optional–at least, it isn’t for me. Even before I found a church in Nashville, I’ve found ways to give. It has to be a priority. To be completely honest, when I first graduated and got my internship, I got behind on my giving and haven’t quite caught up yet. I’m working on that. Sometimes it hurts, but that’s when I look to Matthew: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. I don’t want my heart to be in my bank account.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jodi! Yes, if you read the scriptures…it really isn’t optional. Cheerful giving is required. Love that you said you don’t want your heart to be in your bank account. Amen!

  3. I noticed in your response to @Jodi that you said, “Cheerful giving is required.” I do believe in living open handedly and giving generously (as I described in my comments), but I want you to clarify what you mean by required … required for what? Tithing always brings out law vs. grace issues. As many people struggle with legalism (me included), I think your comment could be interpreted in ways that you don’t intend. Looking forward to your response.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Giving is not required for anything, certainly not salvation or love from God. Cheerful giving brings us closer to God, not because He loves us more or less, but because we can see more of His kingdom through it. I probably should have said, “Cheerful giving is instructed.” Does that help?

      Definitely don’t want to encourage legalism! Yuck.

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  1. […] Money. Even after all our book-reading and money-planning, money was still a source of contention. Joining a checking account with someone is harder work than I imagined. All of a sudden, I couldn’t just flippantly go out to lunch with a friend or pick up a new outfit—I needed to plan & talk to Michael first! Now you might ask, then why would you join your checking accounts? We did because we think it’s important to live as “One”—in unity— and not as two people sharing space & a last name. […]

  2. […] Money. Even after all our book-reading and money-planning, money was still a source of contention. Joining a checking account with someone is harder work than I imagined. All of a sudden, I couldn’t just flippantly go out to lunch with a friend or pick up a new outfit—I needed to plan and talk to Michael first! Now you might ask, then why would you join your checking accounts? We did because we think it’s important to live as “One”—in unity— and not as two people sharing space and a last name. […]

  3. […] with a high salary! And if Christians look down on you, don’t let them make you feel guilty. Give generously & keep open hands on money that doesn’t belong to you […]



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