Tag Archives: giving

“Daddy, this money is going to change the world”

IMG_1761I know…I’m going off-topic again…my apologies :-)

My son Eli often does things that blow my mind.  Although I’m supposedly the parent and the one who is teaching him about life and how to become an adult, I’m always surprised at the things I learn from him.  God has really put a lot of awesomeness in him.  I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like when he grows up!

I’m just writing this now, but the event I want to share about occurred about a year ago.  We had started giving him a weekly allowance of $2.  He got to decorate 3 different piggy banks (tithe, save, and spend).  We told him whenever he got allowance, he had to put AT LEAST 10% into tithe ($.20) but he could do more if he wanted.  Then, split the rest between savings and spending.  It seemed like a good plan, but most weeks he just decided to put it all in tithe, which was really cool.

As a parent, I saw the weeks go by and I started to feel badly for him.  As bad as it sounds, I wanted him to be able to spend some money.  I wanted him to be able to buy stuff like toys, or candy, or whatever.  But, if he didn’t start putting money in his spending bank, he never would.  We would be at Target and he’d see something he wanted and I would start to say, “do you want to use your spending money on this?” but then I realized that he didn’t have any because he gave it all away!  Every once in a while he would put some money into spending and would get up to a dollar or two.  But then one day he would say “you know what…I’m just going to put all my spending money to tithe.”

So, the story I wanted to share was this…one time I gave him 2 weeks of allowance at once ($4), and of course he said he was going to put it all towards tithe.  Wanting to teach him the “responsible” side of money management, I asked him, “don’t you want to keep some for spending and saving?”  I will never forget his response.  He looked at me with almost a look of hurt in his eyes.  And he said in the most serious voice a 6 year old can…”Daddy, this money is going to change the world.”

I just about burst into tears in a split second after that.  I managed to hold them back and say I was proud of him.  Then he ran up the steps to put his money away.  I would estimate that since we started, we’ve probably given him around $140 in allowance…and he’s probably given away about $136 of it.

When I hear him say things like that, it really challenges me to re-evaluate my own perspective.  It’s easy to laugh off a $4 gift as being a world changer.  You can barely buy a latte for $4!  But, you know what…he’s right…$4 CAN change the world….when God is behind it.

I can picture Eli if he were alive 2,000 years ago.  He would be the one, in the middle of the crowd listening to Jesus.  And when everyone was hungry he would say, “here take this bread and fish that I have, I know you can do AMAZING things with this!”  And as others laughed at his exuberance, Jesus would take that small amount of food and feed 5,000 people.

My challenge to you (and me):

Don’t sell God short.  He can do amazing things with even the smallest amount of time, money, and energy we can give.  Maybe it’s 2 hours of volunteering with the youth group.  Maybe it’s greeting people at church.  Maybe it’s taking some canned goods to a food shelter.  Or maybe it’s giving $4 for an offering .  You have no idea how your gift can impact other people…but don’t for a second think that it doesn’t matter or won’t make a difference.  If God is behind it…it definitely will.

What you should NOT get your wife for Christmas…and what you SHOULD

girl-unhappy-with-present-s3-medium_newIt’s that time of year again.  When our houses are lit a little brighter, our Starbucks cups turn red, and our Facebook feeds are filled with pictures of elves on shelves doing crazy things.  During this time of year, there is one question that ALWAYS must be answered…what present should I get my wife for Christmas?

Top 5 list: Worst gift ideas

  1. Anything that is actually a present for YOU.  Does she really want that 60” TV?  Would she really enjoy 2 tickets to the Falcons game?  Did she ask for sexy lingerie?  Come on…give her something that SHE wants…not you.
  2. Something you were already planning to buy.  Let’s imagine you had both discussed the idea of buying something and both agreed that you should do it…but you just hadn’t gotten around to do it yet.  Buying it as a gift and wrapping it up under the tree is a great way to get out of having to buy something else, but is that really showing her love…if you were already going to give her it anyway?
  3. Something that shows you didn’t put much thought into it.  A gift card, generic jewelry, a box of chocolate…these don’t typically show that you thought much about what to get her…UNLESS those are things she actually wants.  But generally, if a gift is easy, convenient and doesn’t show much thought, it’s not going to convey that you were thinking about her much.
  4. Something UNDER her expectations.  Your wife is going to have some sort of expectation of the cost of the present she’s being given.  If you typically spend about $200 on each other, but this year to save money you buy a couple $25 sweaters and call it a day, she’s probably going to be disappointed.  If money is tight, talk about it beforehand so you both are on the same page.  Also, it’s worth noting that many gifts have a “cost” to them without that cost being monetary.  These are often some of the best gifts.  Just don’t let her feel short changed that you didn’t spend enough money/time/effort on getting her a gift.
  5. Something that sends a negative message.  Don’t get your wife a scale, a gym membership, or something that shows you want her to change.  Unless it is something she specifically asked for, it could easily make her feel worse.

Top 5 list: Best gift ideas

  1. Something she actually wants.  Put some effort into figuring out what she wants.  Maybe you take note of things she mentions over time.  Or maybe you get a list of ideas from her.  Either way, she is going to appreciate getting something that she actually wants.
  2. Something that shows you put thought or effort into it.  Some of the best gifts are the ones that you can’t order from Amazon.  If you put a lot of time and effort into making something for her, chances are she is going to appreciate it no matter what it is.
  3. Something that will make her think of you.  A DVD she wants is fine.  A bag of her favorite candy is cool.  But a gift that makes her remember YOU every time she sees it or uses it will be much better.
  4. Something OVER her expectations.  If she’s anticipating you buying her an iPad, get her a scarf to go with it.  Or…if she’s expecting a regular gift from the mall, put a lot of thought into a special gift that you make.  If you normally spend around $200, every once in a while go big if there is a perfect gift idea that costs more.  Obviously, it’s important to be financially responsible and you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have.  But, sometimes it can mean a lot to do a little more than what she expects.
  5. An experience, rather than a product.  A special date night, a weekend getaway, dance or art lessons,  going skydiving.  These are ideas that will create memories together which can last a long time.

How do you want to be remembered? – what Truett Cathy meant to me

s-truett-cathy-chick-fil-a-twitterIn light of the recent death of S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, I’m going to take a break from my regularly scheduled husbandicizing to share some similar, but different, thoughts.   I truly believe that Truett is one of the best examples of what a Godly man looks like that we’ve seen in the last 100 years.  It has nothing to do with his business skills or how great his food is, but has everything to do with his priorities and his actions.  He was passionate about helping others and was so giving with his time, talent, and money.

As I think about the impact he has made in my life, and in the lives of so many others, a few things come to mind that I want to share.  This is by no means an exhaustive account of his legacy, it is merely a few things that struck me.

1. There are more important things in life than money

One of the best ways I saw this was the fact that Chick-fil-A continues to always be closed on Sundays.  The company could make SO much more money if their doors were open, but Truett decided long ago that his workers being able to go to church and spend time with their families was more important than profit.

This is a tough concept to remember.  My work is centered around making money.  And my life decisions involve deciding where to spend that money.  It is so easy to get caught up in placing so much importance on it.  It is encouraging to see people like this and be reminded that money is not what makes life great.

2. It is better to give than to receive

Truett and Chick-fil-A have made a name for themselves by the HUGE amounts of money they give away.  I’ve been a recipient of this several times.  Both my wife and I (and my 2 brothers and sister in law) received a large amount of money in scholarships to be a part of the WinShape college program at Berry College.  We also both received thousands of dollars in support to help fund mission trips that we participated in.  And I know there are countless other ministries that have been supported by Chick-fil-A with no strings attached.  They don’t give money away in hopes of getting it back with interest.  They give money so they can help people, and so they can help raise the next generation of leaders.

This is so important for me to see, because I always want to GET things.  I love gifts, free coupons, discounts, etc.  When I consider the impact receiving those gifts has made in my life, it makes me want to do the same for others.

3. One of the greatest measures of a man’s life is the impact he has on other people

By looking through my Facebook page today, it is MIND-BLOWING to see the amount of people that Truett Cathy’s life has had an impact on.  I believe THAT is what makes a man great.  Without Truett’s influence, I wouldn’t have the job I do now, Julia and I wouldn’t be married, Eli wouldn’t exist, and the spiritual foundation I try to base my life on wouldn’t be nearly as solid.  I have SO much to be thankful for.

My conclusion:

I don’t want to be remembered as the guy who had the nicest looking lawn in the neighborhood, or the greatest tennis serve, or the nicest looking clothes, or who took the coolest vacations.  I want to be remembered as a man who gave to others, helped people have better lives, and tried to have an influence on the next generation.  One day, when I die, I want people to say that I had a huge impact on their lives…just like Truett Cathy did to me.  What about you?

How to be fluent in gift giving

iStock_000014778365XSmallGift giving is one way some people receive love.  (See previous post for thoughts on love languages)  It can be something that is purchased or made that shows that you thought of them.  It doesn’t have to be huge or fancy, but should show there was a cost involved.  The cost could be monetary or in time or creativity.  And it should be something that the other person appreciates.

For me, gifts from my wife aren’t a huge deal.  My usual initial reaction is to think, “how are we paying for this?” which can put a damper on my joy unfortunately.  Julia feels love in a big way when she receives gifts though.  It shows her that I was thinking of her and she is THAT important to me to be worth the time, money, and effort it cost.  Because of this I try to give them whenever possible.  Ironically, I usually don’t enjoy giving presents as much on Christmas, her birthday, Valentine’s Day, or our anniversary.  I like to give them on random days just for fun.  That way, she knows I was thinking of her, not just following what “society” told me I needed to do.  A while back, I planned a whole week of presents and gave her one each morning as a surprise.  It was SO much fun.

If your wife receives love in this way, make sure you’re giving her gifts on a regular basis.  Here are some ideas…

  • Flowers (always a good idea)
  • Candy (or some sort of food she likes)
  • Framed picture (of you two or of the family)
  • A DVD she likes
  • Clothes you think she’ll like (with a return receipt just in case)
  • Gift card to a store / restaurant she likes
  • Vacation (my favorite gift to Julia ever was a trip to Italy…I told her 3 days before we left)
  • Household decoration (accent pillow, wall hanging, decorative vase, etc…something you think she’ll like…with a return receipt)
  • Utilitarian item that she has wanted (blender, cooking items, dustbuster, etc…something she has expressed a desire for)
  • A card that you made
  • Starbucks coffee

Any of these, if given in a way that shows you were thinking of her will help her to feel loved.  So, figure out what she likes and do it!