Life's lessons in finance and disappointment all came at the same time for me. When I was a child, my brother and I were always looking for opportunities to have an adventure. We played in our barn, swinging like Tarzan, and, unbeknownst to our parents, actually dabbled in several attempts at manned flight. In between school and bedtime, most of our childhood was spent barefoot, running the green hills of East Tennessee. When BB guns were introduced to us, we caused much trouble. (We are still a little hesitant to share all of our adventures with our guns, because we're a little fuzzy about the Statute of Limitations in various states.)
With that background, you can understand why an advertisement on the back page of a comic book caught our attention. The page that usually showed the prizes one could win by selling Grit Magazine had a new display that was big, beautiful and inviting. It wasn't some phony-baloney "Sea Monkey" or "Ant Farm" - this was real! It was a true-to-life, two-man, Polaris Nuclear Submarine. It was, it seemed, our destiny. Our fertile minds, full of imagination, could see ourselves exploring the depths of the pond on our farm. We could see ourselves negotiating rivers and hunting for lost treasure in our very own, two-man submarine.
Now, I have heard that in the development process of boys, there are certain portions of the brain that develop later than girls. If that is true, then our frontal lobes were the size of half a peanut. Here we were, living on a farm in East Tennessee, hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, believing that a truck would unload a two-man, mini submarine. We didn't bother to tell our parents about our plans as we filled out the form and placed it carefully in an envelope, stuffed with $6.98, plus shipping in small, negotiable notes and coinage. We mailed it to the ACME "Fraud" Company of Lynbrook, New York.
At what point does a boy start to connect the dots of logic and reason? We may never know the answer to some of life's great mysteries. However, imagine the surprise on our faces when the package arrived with the full and complete contents of our two-man submarine. Although the package was fairly long, it was definitely too thin to contain what the picture on the advertisement had promised. In such states of shock and awe, a person may tend to reason their way around the obvious disappointment. "Maybe this small, thin box is just the nuclear guidance system," we reasoned. Right! We were still
cautious believers as we tore into the box. It was only then that we discovered that not only did that cardboard box contain the entire two-man submarine, it was, in fact, a vital part of the vessel. You see, to our grave disappointment we had purchased a cardboard, two-man submarine.
I make wiser choices in my financial life than I did forty years ago. Life can be filled with serious disappointments, and in the financial world, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure, risk and danger. Yet, one sure thing I have found is tithing. When I give the tithe to the storehouse of my local church, I am investing in something far sturdier than a cardboard submarine. I am, in a real way, participating in something that will last for eternity. I can promise that you will make a huge difference in someone's life who needs Jesus. Your giving now will make room for others in the future. Your giving may help little boys and girls not only come to know Christ, but learn how to make wise choices.