My Tax-Deductible Wedding Gift

My Tax-Deductible Wedding Gift

I was working at a church when Emily and I got married. Toward the end of our wedding reception, just as we were about to leave for our honeymoon, a lady I considered a friend walked up and handed me a check for less than $50. She said, “Congratulations! Here’s a wedding gift. I made the check out to the church because I want tax credit for my gift to a staff member.”

I was so dumbfounded that I didn’t have time to respond. I just smiled and nodded. Fortunately, the church accountant was nearby, so I gave it to her. She didn’t seem surprised, she just smiled and said, “Pretty typical from her.”

Every time I think about that woman the word that comes to mind is tight-fisted. I’m pretty certain she grew up very poor and married into wealth, so I understand why she is so cautious with money. Sadly, what we often call financially prudent is actually just straight up fear. I really feel badly for that woman and the fear she must live with.

I know about this kind of fear because I fight it all the time. God has been very generous with me, but I often amaze myself with my own tight-fistedness. When I tip the minimum or less. When I don’t give, even though I feel like I’m supposed to. When I fight for a parking spot. It’s all rooted in my own fear that if I don’t watch out for myself no one else will. For me, it really comes down to a lack of faith in God’s goodness.

A few months ago I sat down and laid out the four core values I want to teach our daughter Elise. Open-handedness is one of them. The more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve realized that being open-handed is an act of faith. God has been generous with me – giving me what I don’t deserve  – and as an act of faith and obedience I’m going to be generous with his children. Open-handedness is one of the most tangible signs of our faith in God’s goodness and provision.

I’m pretty convinced that true Christian freedom must be founded in faith in God’s goodness. If you don’t really trust God’s goodness then this is a hopeless world we live in. This means we have no choice but to live open-handed. Generosity isn’t an option. It’s required. But like with anything with God, our act of faith always comes with blessing. (See Luke 6:38 below)

Live free. Hold what God has given you loosely. Be courageous. Live open-handed.

…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38