Having the right piece of plastic has surely changed our
lives in the past quarter century. These lightweight, individualized,
magnetically charged tokens are almost too conveniently linked to our identity
and visibly associated with our social and economic status. No wonder we are
reluctant to “leave home without them.”
But what if our money
were harder to carry around and exchange? What if our money consisted of really
heavy, hard to handle tokens of worth? Would this help change our
out-of-control personal and national spending habits?
There have been times
in history where carrying money required a small wheelbarrow. Citizens of the
Han dynasty in China carried four-pound pieces of bronze around with them. They
were called Pu, and resembled giant, badly formed tuning forks. You’d need to
really want to buy something before you left home with a Pu.
Not all ancient money was so cumbersome. At the same time
the Han Chinese were hauling their Pu around, Jesus turned tables on the money
changers in the temple in Jerusalem. Any coins that scattered could be grasped
in the palm of your hand.
It isn’t the size or weight of the money that messes with
our minds, is it? It is how we view money, wealth, and financial security in
general. More important than “What’s in your wallet?” should be our answer to
the question, “How important is your wallet?”
The heaviest yoke many are burdened with daily is worry over
their economic affairs. Fear of economic failure squeezes the life out of
marriages and households and robs wage earners of the joy they should get from
productive employment. To make matters worse, misguided televangelists plead
with you to “Call now—don’t wait! The longer you wait to plant your seed money,
the longer God waits to bless you with a harvest!” That is the
formula for an ungodly guilt trip, and worse, a distorted understanding of God
and the gospel.
Isn’t there a better,
purer, lighter view of giving than trying to manipulate God into
releasing what you need or resigning yourself to poverty and misfortune? Jesus
said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Let’s savor
these words for a moment with respect to personal giving and Christian
I don’t think the widow who dropped her mite into the
collection boxes as Jesus watched then ran from the temple shouting, “Look out
world! It’s beggar-to-billionaire day! Go claim your blessing now! If you put
it in, God has to pay it out! My ship is comin’ in!” I don’t think that widow
saw God as a winning lottery ticket in the sky. Neither do I see her moping
along down the streets of Jerusalem with head hung in shame because her bank
account doesn’t measure up to her neighbors.
Giving to God is a privilege and a joy. It isn’t a
get-rich-quick scheme, or a premium on heavenly insurance. Both of these views
get really heavy—really fast. Let’s lighten up.
God loves the cheerful giver! How heavy is your wallet?
Author: Steve Schantz