What are you saving for?
A new car? A trip? A ring? A video game? How about new furniture? Hardware? School? Or a home improvement project?
And how much self-discipline does it require to actually save and not touch the pot?
If you’re like most people, a lot.
Saving doesn’t come naturally. As a result, it’s typically taught, not naturally inherited (though I wish it was). Primarily because saving denies immediate gratification for longterm satisfaction. The very fact that you can’t afford something “now” further increases the sought item’s value, whether perceived or actual. Saving changes lifestyles, checks motives, and even shapes thought.
I recently unearthed my childhood piggy bank, hand crafted 30 years ago for me by potter Brad Cather in Connecticut. It’s an outstanding piece, full of character. I’ve always loved it, and quite amazed it’s still intact after all this time.
My kids found it especially amusing, and I decided it was a good gift to pass on.
For whatever reason – and I can’t imagine why – they’ve decided that they’re saving for an iPad.
That is, until recently.
On Monday I was sitting with the infamous Hopper Kids at the breakfast table where they were playing over cereal bowls with some wooden animal carvings I’d brought home from Africa over a decade ago. When they asked where they came from, Jenny and I not only began describing the people who made them – as well as some of my various adventures in “the bush” – but their living conditions.
Quite intrigued, I asked Eva particularly why she thought I visited Africa. She thought for a moment, then her eyes lit up. “Did you go to tell them about Jesus?”
“Yes, Eva, I did!” I replied. “I went to tell them about Jesus and play my music for them in worship.”
Then the words a parent dreams of.
She said, “Someday I want to go to Africa and tell people about Jesus and tell my friends about Him when I come home.”
Jenny went on to tell her about the needs of those living in many parts of Africa.
Eva got quiet for just a second (all she’s capable of, really), then looked up with a profound question that I’m still unraveling in my own mind:
“Which is a better idea, Dad: saving up our money to give to the people, or buying an iPad?”
Like any good Daddy, I asked her what she thought.
“I think giving it to the people.”
Feeling both proud and personally convicted, I went on to explain that if we take care of the things important to God’s heart, He’ll take care of the things important to ours (Matt. 6:33).
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Trying to think of a good example, I told her how many times the Holy Spirit tells us to give away the money we make while traveling. Knowing we could use those monies to pay bills and buy food for our family sometimes makes the giving “more challenging” than others. But I explained that – to His credit – Jesus has always made a way for us and provided when we were faithful to be obedient and give things away.
When we start reformatting the priorities of our lives to use our time, talent, and treasure to save people, we start attracting a new attribute of God’s resources: favor. Simply put, it is the measure of how we’re utilizing our present position of proximity and influence to serve others into a place of life. If done correctly, the result of good stewardship is more resources, to do more of the same (Luke 19:12-28).
Needless to say The Hopper Kids are no longer saving for an iPad. They’re saving to save people. And inspiring their parents to do the same. ch: