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Money and the Moral Balance

Doing good with some our money may have an unexpected effect: we feel like we’ve checked the God-box and can do what we want with the rest of it.

I’ll let Jesus do the heavy lifting so you’re not upset with me: “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it” (Mt. 23:23).

We call it moral licensing when good deeds create capacity for us to do crummy deeds afterward.

We slip a 20 in the offering plate, which is better than a 10 or 5, and then we’ve got God off our backs.

This is the danger in thinking that giving a certain percentage of our income fulfills the Law of Love, the Law of Jesus to surrender all we have to God. Moral licensing with money, the moral money balance, is a tit-for-tat game of good offsetting evil, of financial responsibility offsetting financial irresponsibility.

Better to fall in love and lay it all on the line.

Tommy Brown

Tommy Brown is a writer, speaker, and develops strategies that support financial development. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Winston-Salem, NC along with their children Seri and Seth. He served in leadership at two churches as an ordained minister from 2001-2014, leading congregations into financial wellbeing and a holistic approach to integrating faith and finances. Tommy has a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry and Masters degrees in Divinity and Management. His entrepreneurial endeavors over the years have extended into real estate development and church consulting on stewardship matters. Now, Thomas works alongside an award-winning team of storytellers at Wake Forest University, performing strategic planning and project development for initiatives that fund the university¹s $1,000,000,000 capital campaign. Thomas was instrumental in forming Wake Forest University's financial wellbeing initiative. He has a heart for seeing churches, students, and people of faith form connections between faith and finances.

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