Jack Benny was one of the country’s top comedians in the Golden Age of Radio. His character was a penny-pincher that rarely parted with his precious money. A routine often revisited on the show is Jack being held up by a robber. The thief demands, “Your money or your life!” Jack responds with silence. Upon the criminal repeating his command Jack cries, “I’m thinking it over!”
How would you respond in a similar situation? We would all quickly give all the money we have to save our lives. But, how do you respond to this demand in your daily life. When you are called upon to serve, do you respond with your money or your life?
The accounts of many charities and churches are overflowing. They have money to do great things. What they lack are enough people who are willing to devote their life in service.
Throwing money at a problem is the easy solution. We leave the answers to someone else. Money can be the salve to sooth our guilty souls. We rationalize that we have made a sacrifice by giving financially not realizing that cash is often secondary to the cause.
When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
All of the Law hangs on one word… LOVE. Not money!
What does this love for God demand? Is it filling the church treasury? While financial support for the church may be part of it, what God wants is for us to be about His work, which demands our LIFE… our TIME. Is that putting money in the collection each week and then leaving the heavy lifting to someone else? That doesn’t sound like loving with all of your heart, soul, and mind. That’s avoiding responsibility with money. The same way a father may spoil his children to allay his guilty conscience for not giving them the time they need.
The second command is to love our neighbor… in the same way we love ourselves. How do we show love for ourselves? Buy spending time doing the things we enjoy. That’s what we are to give our neighbor… our time. It’s not just donating money when a member of our church is in need, but preparing a meal and going to their home and visiting with them. It’s not handing a struggling family $20 and quickly rushing by, but being a friend… talking and praying with them and helping them overcome the obstacles in their lives.
Money will always be a necessity, but when we value it more than relationships our perspective is skewed. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Giving up your life has nothing to do with money and everything to do with what you value most… your time. Share this time by showing love, friendship, and support and you will accomplish far more than a fortune ever could.