Cuba Gooding Sr. didn't run off with a $7,000 fee to perform at a charity concert ... he's simply holding onto the cash juuust in case the failed event is ever reorganized in the future.
As we first told you ... the '70s soul singer got sued by Reginald Lewis -- who claims he paid Gooding Sr. to play a benefit at a Maryland children's hospital. The concert ended up getting scrubbed -- but Cuba tells us he and Lewis agreed ... the singer should keep the $7K.
Gooding -- who sang the '70s hit "Everybody Plays the Fool" -- claims they decided to do the concert at a later date, but there was "no time table" for when it would go down.
The Oscar winner's dad denies stealing, and claims Lewis is only suing to get publicity. Still, Cuba says he'd be happy to perform in 2015.
Best of all ... they won't have to show him the money.