Banking with Jesus

Been challenged about money recently.  Urg.  I don’t like challenges.  Challenging situations tend to be painful ones.  Challenging sermons (especially about money) always make me shuffle guiltily in my seat. As soon as I hear the words, ‘gift day’, a little bit of me crawls into a hole and Feels Bad – too often without actually doing anything about it.

Why is this? For one thing, I’ve always had a fear of not having enough.  Not enough tinned tuna or toilet roll or books or love or whatever.  As Versace argues, More is More. Except that, whilst Gianni may be big in fashion circles, he isn’t God. Or at least, he shouldn’t be mine.

I could blame the recession.  I’m not being mean, just thrifty.  What with the whole toxic debt thing, now is not the time for generosity. Plus, in the last few weeks, there’s been all sorts of bills we hadn’t anticipated.  The cats got sick. The car broke down.  Christmas! (No-one saw that coming). And those novelty stocking-fillers won’t pay for themselves. 

I’m both overwhelmed and desensitised by a global tsunami of need.  I want to help – but I don’t know how.  What difference can I make? None. So that’s exactly what I do – or at a pinch, I’ll absolve myself with a neat tithe.  

I’m a Christian. I did discipleship 101.  You can’t serve God and money.  Got it.  No, really. Look –  I’m married to a church worker.  We rent.  I buy Economy Marmalade.  So what’s the big problem?

It’s this.  I don’t trust God.  Sure, he says He’ll look after me – but I don’t think He’ll give me what I need.  Or maybe He will, but it won’t necessarily be what I want. Which is a problem. Because the things I want, I like – really want. So I get creative.  I’ll  squirrel away a little bit of extra toothpaste or money for haircuts and we can call it faith. Right?

Er- no. Actually, it’s fear. And greed. And idolatry.  And -urg, this is exactly why I hate money talk. It gets to something in me that’s squishy and dark.

More guilt is not the answer. And times are tough – no-one questions that.  But as a Christian, my hope isn’t in the bank balance. Christ gave everything for us and He can be trusted.  He doesn’t give like I do.  He is open-handed.  More than that, at the cross He is open-armed.  Here is a generosity that changes me and which I can trust.  That’s what will change my heart. 

Lord, give me more of You that I may give more of myself.

9 thoughts on “Banking with Jesus

  1. I kind of like this prayer I spotted a year ago in a shop window in Cornwall,

    “Lord, Give me the grace to change the things I can,
    The grace to accept the things I can’t.
    And a great big bag of money, Amen”

    Sort of short & to the point. A faith prayer? Wishful thinking! Or the sad reality of how we pray sometimes!

    “Not my will, but Your will be done in my life, is a far harder prayer to prayer” and one I saw often struggle wiith, despite those outstretched arms.

  2. This post perfectly describes the stingy tendency I have. Right down to the guilt over knowing my faith in Christ’s all-sufficient care should result in intense generosity with temporal stuff.

    “Lord, give me more of You that I may give more of myself”

    Really appreciated this closing thought. Being able to freely, cheerfully give is what I also want yet cannot seem to find when digging through my own pitiful stock of religious “oughts”.

  3. Thanks Heather – it helps to know that I’m not alone. It’s also one of the things I love most about blogging – the chance to encourage and challenge one another, instead of just stewing in my own guilty juices..

  4. Hi Emma
    love this post, but I am the opposite. I just give stuff away without thinking about the consequences! My husband is the organised sort with a spreadsheet for our expenses, so I drive him mad I am sure! there must be a happy medium somewhere.. Lord? is there?!

  5. So, I misread the title as “baking with Jesus”, which appeals to me much more. I think the post that you’ve written is considerably better though!

  6. Hi Red – isn’t it fascinating how we struggle with both extremes? But in Him, we’re not victims of temperament – my miserliness can become liberality and your impulsiveness a considered giving. I think community – whether blog or actual – is a large part of this process. Hearing about others and sharing in their struggles, especially when they’re not the same, gives us the courage to take more (or less!) risks for ourselves.

  7. Beckie, I hear you. I’m leaning towards a post on Christlike cupcakes. But – is it that simple? ..What would Jesus bake?!

  8. I know he broiled fish over coals for his men, and I love blackened salmon as much as any cupcake! There was also that deal with loaves of bread ……probably not enough to build a church on though. Too bad , because I love tidy a legalistic list almost as much as I do blackened salmon.

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