Nov 23 2012
Here's a Money Tip: Be Reckless

When it comes to giving money, you should be reckless.  Joyfully reckless.

I know, I know:  "Brant, bless your heart, we know you mean well, but you really can't say be 'reckless' with your money, even when it comes to giving, because..."

Also:  "Brant, I see maybe what you're saying, but you know, it's really about 'balance', and..."

Yep. I know.  I hear this kind of thing a lot.  Balance!  

"It's all about balance, Brant."  

Balance. Planning. Moderation. That's how we like to give, when we do it. Makes total sense.

Too bad Jesus never mentioned any of that.


By the way, why do you suppose no one objects to Jeremy Camp's latest song, "Reckless"?  He says he WANTS to be reckless, to "give it all", and "shout (God's) greatness" by being reckless with his everything in his life, "no matter what the cost."

Does that include money?

No one objects.  Why do you suppose THAT is?  It can't just be that he's Jeremy Camp, and his arms are huge and stuff.  I suspect - and maybe I'm crazy - that we don't mind songs like Jeremy's, because he's not being specific about anything.  Or maybe there's such a tradition of saying such things in church-culture, that we don't really think he means it.

Christian music and books are littered with references about surrendering all, and being radical, and "sold out", or whatever.  But when it comes to our treasure, which Jesus said indicates the status of our very hearts, well, then it's... slow down, there, partner.  Let's be balanced.

Funny how that works.


Here are a few reasons to be "reckless" with your money, when it comes to doing the very things that are close to the heart of God:

1)  You should be reckless with your money because you should take more risks.

People worry WAY too much.  We know this.  Jesus told us this.  One reason:  We imagine one worst-case scenario after another emerging both in the near and distant future.  Almost all of them will NOT happen, but they still stop us from acting to alleviate someone ELSE's "worst-case scenario".

One researcher asked very old folks what they'd do if they could live their lives over:  A top answer?  Take more risks.  They realize, now, they were worried about so many things that never materialized, and it stopped them from LIVING.

The people of Jesus, above all, should know that there's nothing to fear.  Nothing.  That frees you up to give joyfully, spontaneously, and with abandon - IF you really believe it, that is.

2)  You should be reckless with your money because... you should be ANXIOUS to give it away.

Seth Godin, a marketing guru, just made this point on his blog:

We're often in a hurry to finish.

Or in a hurry to close a sale.

What happens when we adopt the posture of being in a hurry to be generous? 

Good point.  Ever notice that when you're looking to buy something, your eyes are always quick to spot a sale?  Look for needs. Pray each day that God will send needs across your path. If you are anxious to give to the poor, you'll spot opportunities. And now giving becomes part of your day-to-day, breathing adventure with God. 

3)  So a single mom needs groceries.  Or a poverty-stricken, diseased child needs healed.  Another needs a chance to go to school.  You KNOW God's heart is with those people.  Seriously:  Why would you NOT want to give?

It's an honor.  A joy.  God entrusted YOU with His money, and He wants to see what you do with it.  He wants to see you ENJOY giving it away.  

4) If you DON'T feel that way, excited to give recklessly, do it anyway.  Because it will change you.

If you're a believer, and you find yourself thinking, "You know, to be honest, I just don't have much of a heart for the poor."  Fair enough. It's good to be honest. So what does Jesus say you should you do, then? What should the believer who doesn't feel like giving to the poor do?

Answer: Give to the poor.  

Do it.  Now.  Jesus sat with Pharisees, and told them they were dirty on the inside.  To clean the inside, give to the poor.  It's a one-step process. 

It's aggravating, but true: Oftentimes, our actions don't follow our beliefs, our beliefs follow our actions.  Acting changes us.  So give anyway, and develop a heart that can break, a heart of flesh, a heart that seeks after God's own heart.  

4)  When you "recklessly give", you're giving to God.  And, honestly, how "reckless" is that?

I can't find a story, not a single one, where someone is too moved by love that they just over-gave.  Not one.

Maybe this is because God doesn't just take a special interest in "the least of these."  He IDENTIFIES with them.  He says it in Proverbs 19:17:  If you're giving to the poor, you're lending to Me, and I WILL repay you.

I didn't make that up.  That's what it says.  ("But God doesn't need a loan, and..."  Right. Good luck arguing with Proverbs.)  

Not a surprise, given that Jesus said whatever you've done for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you've done to me.  God loves us all, sure, but He identifies with the poor.  Think you can go overboard giving to Him?

5) When you give, recklessly, joyfully, you prove what, or Who, owns you.

And it ain't money.  

Giving in a measured, calculated, because-I-have-to-so-here's-how-I'll-do-it-just-so kinda way - while understandable - doesn't quite catch all the joy of this.  

You've likely noticed, life seldom works "as planned".  God surprises us, doesn't He? Things happen, people pop into our lives, needs are presented, and a willingness to respond in the moment, with joy, is proof our hearts are already aligned.

Give spontaneously to the poor, brimming with joy, and you're proving something, unwittingly:  You belong to a Jesus who taught you that.

6) Sorry, but balance is WAY overplayed.

Seriously.  Think about it:  Why isn't Camp's song called, "Balanced"?  

No one would buy it.  It doesn't resonate, deeply, at the heart level.  It's not poetic.  It's not part of the story.

Is God "balanced"?  As Tim Keller points out, God the Father, not the son of the "Prodigal Son" story, is truly "prodigal".  And prodigal means to spend - get this - recklessly.

Toward us, He is not measured and balanced. Thank God.

He is lavish.  He is over-the-top.  He is bountiful. He is excessive. He is reckless. One of the highest compliments Jesus ever gave ("She has shown me much love." Lk 7) is to a woman who gave in a way others thought was just too much, too in-the-moment, too unbalanced. 

Truth is, He loves us, and He loves giving. Want to be "Godly"?  Have a heart for the outcast, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the lonely, and give to them.  Recklessly.  

Ask Him to show you opportunities.  Open your eyes.  Go for it. Have a ball.

In the end, you'll have many stories to tell, about how God provides, after all.  

And, in the end, people will have many stories to tell about you.


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Comments (17) -

11/26/2012 12:11:39 PM
M United States
The phrase "a heart that can break" is going to stay with me for a long time.
11/26/2012 12:20:43 PM
Linnea Larsen United States
Linnea Larsen
I'm the struggling single mom you mention, but oh, once, for a few years, I had money to give and it was so much fun! It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but it is also a lot easier.
11/26/2012 12:34:42 PM
brant h United States
brant h
Linnea:  Boy, is THAT true.  WAY easier.

This said, humility is part of the equation, either way.  I've received plenty in my lifetime, and - this may sound strange - I'm getting pretty good at it.  I figure, "Easy come, easy go" in the giving department.

I do think refusing help, or balking at it, sounds more laudable than it is.  If we're going to be childlike, in the best way, we accept and give and know that our Father is taking care of us in both cases.
11/26/2012 12:36:17 PM
Emily Blackie United States
Emily Blackie
My husband and I just recently were called to take a huge risk and move from America to Canada. In an effort to prove our commitment and our drive, we sold all the things we didn't absolutely furniture, some of our clothes, lots of things. All that money has been saved for our local Salvation Army Angel tree. Frankly, I don't even miss our couch or our table and chairs. When I think about how excited one of those kids will be at Christmas to have am extremely lavish gift (we plan on spoiling like crazy), its all worth it! Brant, you speak truth, and a lot of people won't like it, but I thank you for your heart and your zeal!
11/26/2012 1:31:31 PM
Wes Salinas United States
Wes Salinas
I like the blog, but i take a slightly different approach to being reckless with God's money.

1 Tim 5:8 Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.

As a man with a large family (wife and 6 kids), I am called to provide 1st for my family.  That would mean i need to be a good Stuard of His money.

Beyond our essential needs, i get it what you are saying.  I just think that it's important to take care of home 1st and be prayerful of how "reckless" you are with God's money.  Recklessly giving $$ to a homeless man with a crack addiction is like giving a drunk a drink (# Enabler).
Prayerful giving allows you to turn giving into a blessing (unlike reckless giving).  I believe your context of reckless may be different than mine.

I invite your comments.
11/26/2012 1:47:56 PM
Chuck Petersen United States
Chuck Petersen
Thanks for the exortation to be reckless with our money. It is stretching us in the face that we are retiring and only God knows where this country is headed financially, but we need to just listen to Him in regards to giving. We are reckless in other areas (go to a closed country on a missions trip at age 65) but we need to add giving.
11/26/2012 2:09:17 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Wes, love your points.  I don't think ignoring actual family needs, or knowingly helping someone buy crack are good ideas, either.  

I'm VERY curious about this:  Have you had the same reaction to Jeremy Camp's song?  I haven't heard anyone say, "Wait a second, here..."  
11/26/2012 2:36:50 PM
Christian Riddell United States
Christian Riddell
Thank you for sharing this piece about being in a hurry to be generous it speaks to me on a very deep level.  It is so refreshing hearing others who know who their real master is, our glorious and generous father above, so thanks again for sharing this I really enjoy it.
11/26/2012 2:42:55 PM
alli johnson United States
alli johnson
im only 12 but ive gone to a christian school my whole life but tht dont mean i dont hv any questions i hv lots i heard jeremy camps explanation thing for reckless and he said tht he had recently been asked if he would be able to surrender it all and evr since thn ive wandered what it means to surrender it all and this answers my question exactly thank you so much i listen to your show evry night and it always lifts my mood thank you !!!
11/26/2012 2:56:33 PM
Wes Salinas United States
Wes Salinas
I believe i was looking at your blog superficially.  After listening to the Reckless song by J Camp,  It reminds be specifically of a parable that Jesus spoke regarding the rich young man...

Someone who had a desire to serve God, and did alot of good deeds.  Jesus asked him to leave it all and follow him and the young man walked away sad.  He found out that his posessions were more of a priority to him.

In many ways, we choose to hold onto things that keep us from meeting our full potential in Christ.  I know i do.  Accountability is the best way to keep moving forward.  Thanks again for sharing.

11/26/2012 9:18:24 PM
Mary United States
Ok, this is like a really long comment but I heard what you said on the radio and i REFUSE to keep my mouth shut- God is so good to those who put their whole trust in Him. I'm a single mom going to school full time to become a nurse. My car broke three weeks ago (flat tire) and then I found out it needed parts (ball joints and rack bushings) once those were put in I got another flat tire which led to needing 4 new tires. At this point i was literally, not figuratively, SCREAMING at God to help because I was so completely broke. I had been angry at Him and hadn't prayed in months and as a testimony to HIS GREATNESS this song came out of my brokenness

After THAT i brought my car to get aligned and the guys aligning it "found" a broken coil spring and asked for a $500 repair but I didn't care, God heard me and I trusted Him. The next day my grandpa gave me $200, (This Thanksgiving Day) the following day the place that had broken my car agreed to repair it FOR FREE. My roommate gave me $100 for Christmas presents for my 2 year old son and when I saw a "single mom of 2 year old" on the side of the street asking for money, I gave it to her out of what God had given me. At church, where I haven't been in awhile, I threw a money in the offering too and it feels so completely PUNY compared to what God has done for me. If God has put it on your heard to give then GIVE and GIVE LIBERALLY!!!! Trust Him, He hears His children when they cry and if He doesn't use you to give He will find someone else- choose to be blessed by obeying your Father in heaven as He leads you to give. Oh and Brant, I had to say that it isn't reckless to give liberally, it is reckless to rely on your flesh. It is Responsible to trust the One who owns "the cattle upon a thousand hills". (Psalm 50:10)
11/27/2012 4:54:47 PM
Tom Smith United States
Tom Smith
Brant, I don't think your thoughts above went far enough.

In Matt. 26 and the parallels we see the reckless anointing of Jesus' feet by a woman who is identified in another gospel as a prostitute, and the only person who complains about balance is ... Judas (in a parallel passage). Then, fed up that no one listens him and he can't sell the perfume and use the money for selfish purposes, he goes off and betrays Jesus.

In the USA we are completely risk-averse. 401(k) plans are full of hundreds of billions of dollars of money for retirement where people are struggling to figure out how to make more than a few percentage points of a gain (=profit). I think this is crazy and artificially boosts stock prices, when we could be taking a good deal of this money and put it into starting and promoting small, private businesses that would make higher profits than just a few percentage points.

So my point is not about business; it's about how very, very few Christians really STEP OUT IN FAITH with their money and take risks. My wife and I prayed about this as an application of a quiet time just a couple days ago and BAM the very next morning a big opportunity came and we did it and wow what a blessing! God is waiting, waiting for you to be open to us letting go of our money for His Kingdom, he's got the opportunity just ready to go. Forget the "red herring" of the crackhead street beggar, that's just someone's pat excuse not to give. God has a huge bunch of legit opportunities like a thousand awesome missionaries in the field; great Christian relief agencies; thousands of churches that have pastors with big godly visions and small budgets; and this radio station. And I'm not even coming close to naming the first 1% of what God has in store.

I'm an usher in our big church. And while I don't ever pay strict attention to "who gives what", I'm saddened by what I see when plates come to the end, row after row, where people are obviously putting in just token amounts week after week when I know they could just break down the doors of faith and move the Kingdom forward with serious faith donations. But they don't have a problem with paying big cell phone bills (you know those things that go off in church every week; a year of cell phone bills being more than they give to God in a year), a big vacation, blah blah.

I feel for people like the single moms above, but sometimes God puts us in a place to be receivers.

And no one, including God is asking the head of a family to sacrifice the provision for their family. That would be reckless in the wrong way. But God gives even the large families opportunities to give generously while their needs are met.
11/27/2012 11:44:40 PM
Corey United States
I only agree with some of this article, and disagree with a good bit of it.

"I can't find a story, not a single one, where someone is too moved by love that they just over-gave.  Not one."

I don't know where you were looking (the Bible?) but I absolutely right off the top of my head know of 2 significant incidents in my life where I overgave, and it harmed me and them;  good intentions but failed actions that resulted in taking a large part in ending of those 2 relationships, one is an ex-brother that will always remain ex-, and the other was a close friend whom we've since re-friended but it's never been at all as close and never will be.

"He says it in Proverbs 19:17:  If you're giving to the poor, you're lending to Me, and I WILL repay you."

Yes and He also said "don't cast your pearls to swine."  

Most of the anti-Christians usually argue and rail against us for cherry-picking quotes in the Bible to follow and then not following other entries, and sometimes those railings against us, although evil-intended, may infact be correct.  

If you won the lotto and feel God gave you this money and thus you give it away to charities, this on the surface sounds good;  but God also gave you a brain and you are responsible to use it; so *which* charities did you give to?  did you just blindly toss the money out into the street for the most violent or cunning and evil people to take it all?  or did you take your time and energy and use your brain (all resources God gave you) to hunt and find the needy and give to them?

I overgave to a bad-behaving ex-brother, and later on to a bad behaving close friend.  Coddling evil only lets it grow worse and do more harm to themselves and others; if a person is pointed toward evil then helping them along further in "their path" is pushing them toward hell, not toward Heaven.  To actually help a misbehaving child we're told to not spare the rod, I think I understand this one a lot better today than years ago.

I don't want to foolishly cast any more pearls to swine; I want to use the brain and time and energy and money God gives me, and hunt for the diamonds in the rough; they're out there.  In number there are more self-called "charity" organizations that are bogus than are good.

Sam Childers is a personal hero to me, he "gets it", and nearly every single other organization claiming to help kids in Africa has simply failed miserably to help the weak in need, and infact has instead helped feed and arm the evil.  

In my life I've made mistakes,
some of those were overgiving,
some of them were undergiving,
all of those actions by me were mistakes I need forgiveness for.  
I think the things I did wrong but had good intentions (the overgiving are good examples) are probably easier to be forgiven, but were still mistakes and need forgiving.  

I'm learning to not be so "reckless" with the good resources God gives me - not just money but brainpower, time and energy -- those too are important gifts God gives us and to be used and "spent" toward good things.  

11/29/2012 9:23:29 PM
Kate United States
Giving recklessly can be good, but in some circumstances I'm sort of afraid to give recklessly.  Right now I'm saving up for a missions trip in February and don't have half the money I need by Dec. payment, let alone the money for the car payment, etc. So right now I'm trying to live recklessly by believing that the Lord will provide the money I need to get me thru next month.  Does that count as living recklessly with my money?  Just wondering here...
11/30/2012 9:53:40 AM
Wes Salinas United States
Wes Salinas
Kate, you are a steward of God's money.  

I picked this out of an article written by a missionary that I believe answers your question:

“We had strong convictions to be out of debt before we went on the mission field. Once we arrived, we were so glad that we were out of debt. The families under the most stress and anxiety were the ones who had left debts behind in the States. While this may have just been our experience, it was sad to see what some of the families were going through. Their budgets were tight, much of our fellowship time together was spent on their finances, they were not free to minister as they wanted and two families had to return home to take care of the bills. Pray that God will quickly provide the finances for you to clear your debts. “
If you are struggling to make your car payment, I don’t believe it is God’s will for you to default on your loan.  Be prayerful and if He provides a way for you able to do both AMEN.  If not, be patient, and prepare yourself for the next mission trip.
Many times people think God will simply provide…I believe he works through us.  Our willingness to find other sources of income (ex: 2nd job delivering pizza’s) can aid in the $$ problems you are having.
As for giving recklessly, if you are able to go on the mission, being a missionary is a form of giving.  It doesn’t always have to be monetarily.  You are giving your time and talents for His purpose to serve others.  That is in my opinion, giving recklessly.    If you go on a mission’s trip and don’t pay your bills 1st, you would basically be financing your trip with money that should have gone elsewhere.  Im not sure if that would be God's will.  Sometimes we want to do things for His kingdom, but he have to be prayerful about it.  
11/30/2012 7:12:08 PM
Kate United States
Wes, thanks for the clarificaion and your quote, that really helps.  I am trying to pick up extra work to help with budget stuff and hopefully it will make things work.  We'll see.  And I will be in prayer!  I believe it's one of the most important parts of doing anything for Christ and the kingdom.  Thanks for the encouragment/help!
12/1/2012 8:52:28 PM
Matthew United States
Loved this post, thank you! I like what Dave Ramsey says about giving, he says it is always easier to give away someone else's money. If we view our "possessions" (not just $) as simply being a steward for someone else...then when we give we are truly giving away money that isn't ours, therefore it should be easy. My mother-in-law lives on 10% and gives away a family I would love for ours to get to that spot, we have a long way to go, but have encouraging christians/blogs to encourage us
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