My husband has a good job and enjoys what he does every day. It's a great company and the people he works with are good coworkers. But this Christmas, we were presented with a small problem. See, he has several "superiors". One of them is considered his boss - but in such a large company there are many people he works for. When it came time to give a Christmas gift to his "boss", let's just say he got a LOT of requests. Really, too many. Each of them was asking for "only $20". Right...see if we had given the requested $20, we would have spent more money on Christmas gifts for his coworkers than we had spent on our children. Doesn't seem right.
Something similar happened this morning - someone came with an expectation that I participate in an activity and then held their hand out for my $35.
And I wanted to spit in it.
I wanted to say, "You know, I just can't do that."
It's half true. Technically, I can do that. Technically I have over $35 in my bank account so I can "afford it". Technically it would not be a hardship for me to have to pay $35.
But here's the kicker: I don't want to.
There. I said it. I have the money. I just don't want to give it to you.
I love giving gifts to my friends and family. I love being generous and giving on my terms. It's when someone expects it that I get a little annoyed.
So often when you hesitate or say you can't, people give you a look. You may know the look. Perhaps you have received the look. Perhaps you have given the look. It's marked by it's obvious disapproval and condescension.
Most often it is worn with this phrase in the giver's mind: It's only $20. Or, in my case, "It's only $35."
Yeah, okay. Doesn't sound like that much. But I have four other people standing right behind you with their hands also held out for going-away gifts, staff appreciation gifts, boss' day treats, Christmas presents for people who do not even know the names of my children...the list goes on.
We have committed to living a certain way. We are careful. We don't spend money on new clothes very often. We don't take big vacations (though they look so fun). We don't drive fancy new vehicles. We have a budget and it is tight and we stick to it. This allows us to do several things - namely live the way we want to. Because we have been careful, we have no mortgage. Because we have been careful, we can afford to send our kids to a Christian school. Because we have been careful, we can choose to give to causes we truly believe in. Because we have been careful we can dream and live out our dreams.
Honestly, I'm just tired of all the "it's just $20" people emailing me.
There are some of us who are trying to live a little differently. There are some of us who don't feel like $20 is just an insignificant amount of money. There are also some of us who just don't have an "extra" $20 to spend at all.
Other people, no matter how much I like them or appreciate them or want to wish them a very Merry Christmas, are not simply entitled to my money.
There is only One who is entitled, and Brian and I are doing our best to listen to Him. And more often than not, He asks me to put that $20 into someone else's hands - someone who doesn't have enough to eat, someone who lost everything they had, someone who needs it for Kingdom work.
Those are the hands I love to bless.
To me $20 isn't pocket change, and I would simply appreciate being given the OPTION to contribute - rather than seeing an open, expectant hand.