Bob noticed his son Jimmy had suddenly stopped eating his lunch. Hot dogs and Tater Tots were Jimmy’s favorite Sunday lunch, so Bob was surprised when Jimmy put his fork down.
“Something wrong, son?”
“Nope. Well, maybe.”
“What’s on your mind?”
“Dad, what does ante up mean?”
“Yeah, when they passed the offering plate in church today, you whispered ‘time to ante up.’ What does that mean?”
Mary gave Bob that look. Bob knew he was in trouble.
“I was just making a little joke. Ante up means paying someone what you owe them.”
“Do we owe God money?”
How would you answer Jimmy? Do we owe God money? Is that what offering is? A debt to God? Are Christians obligated to give, and, if so, is there a required amount?
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As he entered Panera Bread I noticed he had a slight limp. He was probably 80 years old. Maybe 85. I imagined him being a Korea War veteran. It was easy to see him as having owned an auto parts store or perhaps he had been a supervisor in a factory.
I had no idea who he was, but for some unknown reason he looked trustworthy. I’m sure he lived his life being personally responsible for everything he did.
Where does personal responsibility come from? A quick answer would be one generation passes it on to the next. But where did it originate?
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“Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. Find it and keep it lit.” Mary Lou Retton
A small crackling fire in a fireplace at a Bible study. A campfire on the beach with friends. A roaring celebratory bonfire. A building engulfed in flames.
One kind of fire has many uses. It can warm our homes. It can destroy a forest. It can set a cozy mood. It can end lives.
Another kind has different uses. It can consume our thoughts. It can motivate us to action. Everyone has that kind of fire living deep inside them. It’s that one cause that keeps knocking at the door of your heart. Do you hear it?
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Should a church have a savings account? Should a Christian save for a rainy day? Does saving money indicate a lack of faith that God will provide when the need is there?
Among the lessons in Exodus chapter 11 is one about saving for the future. And it was God who commanded it.
“Give and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 NASB
This verse is a one of the favorite go-to verses when the subject is financial giving. In fact, I’ve never heard it used in any other context. I have two problems with that application of this verse.