Jul 31 2011
A 401k Plan You Can Tickle

(I wrote this while in Africa last year. I just got back from Rwanda, and am still thinking about the little kids.  And the God who loves them, and... my money.)

So we're visiting village after village today, and playing with a whole lot of very sweet little kids.  Sweet little kids, I should say, with not a thing to play with.  Literally no thing.  


So we play tickle monster (standard operating procedure for a dad, of course) and we twirl and I laugh and they giggle.  And we take pictures with our digital cameras, and show them what, for likely the first time, is a first look at themselves in a photo.  Their eyes brighten, and they smile, look away -- then look again, and smile.  Thank God they don't think what I thought when I first saw them:  These children are not eating well.  Many have hair missing...in clumps.  But they see themselves, and they smile, and so do we.

It says on our money, "In God We Trust", and many Christians pass emails around, protesting rumors of the removal of that phrase.  Understandable?  Okay.  But so is wondering, of course, if we who protest really, truly trust God with our money...or whether it's easier to have our coins say it.  

I say we don't, really, trust God with our money.  If we did, we'd invest in His ultimate retirement plan:  "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord WILL repay him."  -- it says that in Proverbs.  I may not be exactly quoting -- don't have my Bible right here -- but I'm darn close.

Our entire banking system -- our entire economy! -- is based on just that:  trust.  Shoot, the root word for "credit" is the same as "credibility".  It means "trust".  You have money, so who do you trust with it?  Maybe you trust a banker you've never met, a broker you'll never see, or a corporation that, God promises, will vanish, eventually, like a vapor.  

People are now struggling to find a trustworthy place, with a solid return, for their money.  May I propose, for those who say they subscribe to "In God We Trust", that they actually trust God with their money?  Maybe that's you.  It's certainly me.

God says:  Give to the poor, and you're lending to me.  And I WILL repay you.  That's a guaranteed return.  God says He WILL repay you.  

Give to the poor.  Give to the poor.  Give to the poor.  God WILL repay you.  GOD will repay you.  He promises it.  

Take it to the bank.

Or don't -- take it to these children, or others like them.  God will repay you.  When?  How?  I don't know.  But He promises it.  Still worried about your retirement years?   Listen to one of these children giggle, smell their milky breath, hold their dirty little hands...and wonder, with me, if they'll even see high school.

God says He WILL repay you.

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Comments (8) -

8/1/2011 2:55:37 AM
Marion Willis United States
Marion Willis
8/1/2011 3:05:26 AM
Marion United States
8/1/2011 9:35:29 AM
Brian Doyle United States
Brian Doyle
Wow...I don't have the words, truly. I would love one day to be so giving and free toward the poor and downtrodden that it's an automatic response, without having to think that God will repay. I hope to realize someday that what I have to give is God's anyway, so I will use it for His purposes anyway. I'm not fully there yet, in many ways still selfish, but I'm letting God work in me on it. Thanks for this post. It's given me a lot to think about.
8/1/2011 9:48:25 AM
Jeremy Louis United States
Jeremy Louis
Great post Brant. Thank you for sharing this again. Side note...you are doing a great job in afternoons. Continue to be yourself and let God us you to reach people. My wife and I are looking forward to hopefully traveling to Ethiopia soon to welcome a couple amazing kids into a forever family. To go along with your point...I love what James 1:27 says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
8/1/2011 12:12:58 PM
kim United States
Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because I want to believe and give until I can't anymore but then we are so programed by society that we have to save and plan for our retirement.  It's a constant struggle for me.
8/4/2011 10:43:08 AM
Deb United States
I'm very hesitant to write this because talking about $ makes me squeamish and I'm afraid it will sound rather negative though it is not meant to be.  I don't think saving for retirement is a bad or wrong thing to do.  God says He will repay us when we give and I believe that wholeheartedly.  Maybe one of the ways He repays us this side of eternity is by allowing people to save.  Don't know exactly where it is, probably Proverbs, but the Bible says something about a wise man leaving an inheritance for his children's children.  I think this goes way beyond money to include teaching values etc to your kids to the point where they embrace it enough to pass it on to the next generation. This is just an opinion, but I think that verse indicates it is ok to save with a purpose, but not to be greedy or selfish.  It is a wonderful feeling to give and help others!  I'm so thankful to God that He's allowed me to do it.  I'm writing this as someone who got caught up in  that health and wealth, prosperity, name and claim it 'gospel' mindset.  It really does a nasty number on your thinking.  The focus on giving is steered toward what you can get from God, not from a heart of gratitude and thankfulness. As someone who is still struggling somewhat to get out of that mindset, I think balance can be a good thing.

8/8/2011 6:18:59 PM
Jonathan United States
I don't know what to say...you put this in an amazing way...i am going to talk to my parents about this asap!!
8/12/2011 4:44:00 PM
Lauri United States
Nice post, Brant =)

I agree with Deb; balance is a very good thing.  It sounds contradictory: save so you can give.  It goes along with take care of yourself so you can help others when they need it.  It's all about having boundaries, realizing what you need, and what is excess that you can give.

Giving is good; hand-ups, teaching communities how to be self-sufficient and how to improve their living and health conditions, are fantastic.  It's like Jesus said: "teach a man to fish..."  Maybe we should have some financial planning classes added to our high school curriculae for just such things.
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