I have some further thoughts following up from my previous post.
I remember one day sitting in our worship service listening to the message about tithing. I leaned over to my wife and asked her how crazy it would be to give away one entire paycheck. My thinking was, we wouldn’t be totally hurting to be out half a month’s pay and we could see what God would do. Would God meet our needs? Would we be full of joy to give so much away? Of course, being the one who manages our budget and money, this idea stressed her out and she thought I was crazy. I may be crazy, but I still wonder about that.
Here’s a good question. Which scriptures are for us today and which are for us to learn from? In other words, when Jesus tells someone in scripture a command, is that command also for us? Generally The Church takes the Great Commission to be a command to all of us even though Jesus was only speaking to His disciples. So if that is a command that is given to all Christians of all times, what about what Jesus told the rich young ruler? He told the rich young ruler who had done everything else right in his life to sell all his stuff. So what do we do with that? Are we supposed to sell our stuff as well?
There was this amazing story about this guy from Cincinnatti – from the DVD Ordinary Radicals. There was a young man who was living in one of the richest communities in America (Orange County, CA). He was reading through Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne and was being challenged with the question – would you really give away all your possessions? The very next day his friends ended up taking him to the Price is Right game show. This guy actually got on the show and ended up winning the whole show! Over $60,000 in prizes! But then he said he remembered the words from the book. He ended up selling the two cars he won back to the dealership and used the money to go to Uganda, Africa where he decided to live for a while in orphanages and give all the money to them. What?! I love that story.
I heard of another man who used his retirement savings to start a new church in an inner city neighborhood. Would you cash in your retirement that you worked your whole life to accumulate?
What if we really lived as if we believed the words of Jesus? He tells us not to store up treasures on earth but store up treasures in Heaven. We are really caught in a trap here. I can’t point you to one message I hear from our culture that tells you to give it all away (or don’t buy it in the first place!) Yes, there are good organizations and good campaigns that encourage you to help others out. But no one is asking you to make a large sacrifice. There’s so much in the bible about possessions and money and I don’t see an overarching theme being – collect all you can. But rather, don’t get caught up in the trap – get rid of as much as you can.
I want to promote an awesome resource. If you want to know what the Bible says about money and possessions, check out David Platt’s Secret Church teaching on the Gospel, Possessions and Prosperity. David pretty much covers every part of scripture that mentions money or possessions and then gives some commentary at the end. Now, be warned, this is a long teaching – about 4 hours. But they have it broken up into chunks. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this resource.
Click HERE to check it out.