Don’t Keep the Change

Scott AtteberyChristian Living1 Comment

My son has recently taken an interest in spending money from his piggy bank. In an effort to teach him about the responsible use of money, I have started allowing him to withdraw a small amount of money from his piggy bank each month in order to purchase a toy.

Not long ago, we made a trip to the store where he found a toy in his price range. I was proud of his new found skill of shopping for the lowest price and living within his means (hopefully that will last).

When we arrived at the check out counter, Bryce wanted to do everything himself. So, I stood back and watched as he handed his toy to the cashier and pulled out his money. But there was a problem.

Apparently, someone else had looked at that toy earlier and then placed it back on the shelf. Unfortunately, they placed it in the wrong spot where the price tag on the shelf was lower than the actual price of the toy.

When the cashier asked for $12.72, Bryce’s face suddenly fell sad. He only had $5 in hand.

I stepped in at this point and handed the cashier a 10-dollar bill to combine with Bryce’s $5. Bryce had been such a good shopper and I wanted to reward him for his good work.

Then, it happened –the teaching moment I never anticipated.

As the cashier reached out with $2.28, Bryce stuck out his hand to receive the change.

“Bryce, that’s my money.”

He replied, “But I bought the toy!”

The cashier and I had a good laugh. And, walking back to the car, I explained to Bryce why the change was mine. Bottom line, because I paid!

In all of his excitement, he had forgotten that the transaction would have been impossible without my intervention. Come to think of it, the money in the piggy bank came from me too. Bryce certainly didn’t work for it!

My whole point in giving him money and allowing him to shop was to help him grow as a responsible young man.

Sound familiar?

Everything you have –even the things you “give” to God- were supplied by God to begin with. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). God just allows us to make transactions with His blessings in order to help us grow while furthering His kingdom.

But it’s not just the material blessings that God provides. Most importantly, God gave His only Son, Jesus (John 3:16) to bring new life, spiritual life, to those who would believe in Him.

As the hymn writer stated, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.”

That includes the leftover “change” of our lives:

  • Serving the needs of others all of the time, not just during “scheduled” ministry time.
  • Opening your home to a disciple in need of guidance, even after the small-group Bible study is over.
  • Supporting ministry needs financially on top of your planned giving to your church.

For the believer, there are no categories of “mine” vs. “God’s.” Jesus must be Lord of all. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

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