Financial Planning 101

June 5, 2009

in Generosity

I’ve been thinking about CHANGE recently, not just because Obama is President but because I’m reading YOU CAN CHANGE.

One of the things I’d like to change is my generosity (or lack thereof).  I’ve mentioned Money, Possessions and Eternity before-a great book by Randy Alcorn that gets at the heart of generosity.  Today, I thought I’d share a very small section of his very large book (over 400 pages!)

He starts by asking you to pretend that you are a financial planner with two appointments for the day.

Appointment 1:

Elderly woman whose husband died six years ago.

She says,

‘I’m down to my last two dollars. I have no more money. The cupboards are bare. These two dollars are all I have to live on, yet I feel God wants me to put them in the offering plate this Sunday. What do you think?’

Can you imagine your response?

Mine would most likely be as Randy Alcorn describes:

‘That’s generous of you, but God gave you common sense.  He knows your heart-that you want to give-but He wants  you to take care of yourself….God wants you to do the sensible thing.’

Appointment 2:

Successful, Hardworking, Middle-Aged Farmer whose crop has been excellent.

He says,

‘I’m planning to tear down my old barns this year and build bigger ones so I can store up more crops and goods…save up plenty for the future, you know? Then, I’ll eventually be able to take it easy, retire early, and maybe do some traveling and golfing. What do you think?’

Can you imagine your response?

Mine would be as Randy Alcorn suggests:

‘Sounds great to me!  You’ve worked hard and the Lord has blessed you with good crops.  If you can save up enough to take care of yourself for the rest of your life, by all means go for it. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do the same.’

Jesus, the Financial Planner

These responses make sense to me, but Jesus offered some very different financial planning advice for two such people.

He commended the widow in Mark 12 ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.’
He scorned the rich man in Luke 12, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

These two stories remind me that I’m in desperate need of some financial advice from Jesus-his ideas about money aren’t just different, but often diametrically opposed to my own.

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