Attributed to renowned investor Warren Buffet, “skin in the game” is a term describing the willingness of a company’s top executives to invest some of their own money in a project. It’s a sign of good faith and their confidence in the outcome.
The concept makes a lot of sense, if you think about it.
Why should you or I want to invest in a company or a project if the insiders don’t believe in it enough to risk their own money?
But the skin-in-the-game principle actually started long before the days of Warren Buffet.
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of three-year-old Jenny, who was terrified by a fierce thunderstorm one night. With each flash of lightning or clap of thunder, she screamed in fear, pulling the covers over her head for protection. And when the covers proved inadequate to comfort her, she ran downstairs, where her mom was still working in the kitchen.
“I’m scared, Mommy!” she said, firmly wrapping her little arms around her mother’s legs.
“Go back to your room, Jenny,” her mom told her. “God will take care of you.”
“OK, mommy,” she reluctantly agreed.
But no sooner was she back in bed than another roar of thunder shook her room, once again sending Jenny back to the kitchen, where she wept as she clung to mom.
“What did I tell you, Jenny? God will take care of you,” the mother said, getting somewhat irritated.
“But mommy, God doesn’t have any skin on Him!” the little girl protested.
Well, even though we surely can sympathize with Jenny’s point, the good news is that God did, in fact, come to us with skin on. We’re told in John 1:14 that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Not content to remain hidden away somewhere in the heavenlies, our Lord became Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Yes, God put skin in the game. Real skin. You see, He believed enough in His “redemption project” to become personally involved—fully invested, we might say.
Notice that He didn’t just send His Word through prophets, angels, stone tablets, or handwriting on the wall. He came Himself and lived among us.
However, this doesn’t totally negate Jenny’s point. People today still are looking for “God with skin on.” They need something more than a pat answer or an encouraging Bible tweet. They’re longing to see and interact with other human beings who are filled with the presence and power of Christ (Colossians 1:27).
So the next time you send a tweet, post a blog, or put something on your Facebook wall, remember this sobering statement by the apostle Paul: “We were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also OUR OWN LIVES, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
If Paul was still around today, I’m sure he would be using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and every other possible means of sending out the gospel. Yet, even more importantly, he would be modeling an “incarnational” faith and investing his life into people he loved.
For Paul, presenting our bodies as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) wasn’t just theology or theory. It meant putting our skin in the game.
As you interact with people through social media on your computer or smart phone today, don’t forget to also put some of your “skin” in the game. Your friends and followers may need to see you in person from time to time. Like Jenny, they may even need a hug.