The pain in my friend’s face was obvious as he explained the dilemma he was facing. He and his wife were discipling another couple in their small group who had major issues in their finances. They felt like God had told them to financially help this struggling family and yet many of the couple’s financial decisions were ill-advised decisions that my friend could not agree with. They were now struggling with God asking them to give money to this couple who would spend it differently than they would.
My response was indicative of how we must see God’s economy. I told my friend that even though their check was physically going from them to this other family, their giving was to God. This gave them the freedom to obey God and give the money as an offering to the Lord. Those who received the finances were accountable to God for how it was used.
Picture this with me: the check, cash, direct deposit or whatever we are giving actually travels horizontally (into the offering plate or charity), but all our giving is vertical (to God). For example, my wife and I might be sending a check to a ministry that is providing food and education for a needy child in Central America (horizontal), however we consider the giving of this gift as to the Lord (vertical). We see all giving as giving to God.
Likewise, the money we receive from many sources is practically received horizontally into our hands; paycheck, dividends, gifts, rents etc, but we keep the perspective that it comes vertically from the Lord above. This picture of God’s economy has helped us keep our finances in a joy-filled perspective. We see all provision as coming from God.