The Lord Loves a Cheerful Giver, but He Demands a Return on His Investment
This post is meant to do what many parables in scripture do: juxtapose two seemingly unrelated, or possibly contradictory, topics.
This post also considers our discussion regarding the Give-Greed Continuum and the misguided notion that God only cares about giving. This post is not about money, per se. Nor is it about the love of money or the desire for it. It’s not about whether we’re too attached to it or whether we should or should not give. Whether you are a cheerful giver or not, only you and your God can know.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9.7)
Money is a difficult topic to discuss, whether in blog posts, podcasts, with business associates, or with our spouses and families.
The fact is, the only topic Jesus talked more about during His ministry years than money was the Kingdom of God. Again, the purpose of this post is not to discuss “money” and its effect on us as individuals; the purpose is to discuss money as a resource and the responsibility we have with the resources that are in our care.
While not exhaustive, this post is meant to cause us to pause, think, and ask: “are we being the stewards of our resources that we are supposed to be?”
If we believe the Bible, than we believe that everything that we have is from God. Therefore, to “cheerfully” give those resources back to God does make sense.
However, it is what we do or do not do with those resources when they are in our care that is the focus of this post.
Take, for example, The Parable of the Talents. This is also called by some translations as The Parable of the Bags of Gold. Why the different names? Well, like so many things in the Bible that seem contradictory, they are actually the same thing.
At the time Jesus told this parable, a “talent” was a measurement of money. One talent was actually equal to one bag of gold. That one bag of gold was actually equal to 20 years of a day laborer’s wages. That’s a lot of money!
Do you have any idea what the value of those talents (or bags of gold) are worth in today’s US Dollars? Let’s assume that a day laborer can earn $15,000 per year in the USA. That’s not very much, but that’s not the point. $15,000 times 20 years is equal to $300,000. That is a lot of money.
As you may know the story, a wealthy individual decided to go on a trip. But before he left, he decided to entrust some of his resources (bags of gold) to three of his workers. Referred to as “servants” in the text, these individuals were not executives in his business organization. They were regular people who likely did not have any resources of their own.
- To the first worker, the wealthy man gave 5 bags of gold (or $1,500,000)
- The second worker was given 2 bags of gold ($600,000)
- The third worker was given 1 bag of gold ($300,000)
If you don’t know the story, while the wealthy man was gone for a long time,
- The first worker turned his 5 bags of gold into 10 (or $3,000,000)
- The second worker turned his 2 bags of gold into 4 ($1,200,000)
- The third worker buried his 1 bag of gold and gave the 1 bag of gold back to the owner when he returned ($300,000)
When the wealthy man returned,
- He gave the first worker more responsibilities
- He gave the second worker more responsibilities
- He took what little the third worker had and gave it to the first worker. He also threw the third worker out into the street.
So, what’s the lesson for an Impact Capitalist?
- We all have resources, whether they have been given to us or whether we have earned them.
- We have a responsibility to use those resources…beyond simply giving them away. (Giving is a part of the responsibility.)
- Stewardship involves assuming and taking on risk (no one doubles their money without assuming a significant amount of risk).
- We have more resources than we may think.
- We’re going to be judged, both in this life and in the next, by how we use our resources.