Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Voices in my head

I've found in my journey as a follower of Jesus that when God is trying to teach me something or bring my focus to a subject, I often find that subject popping up consistently and finding it's outlet through many different voices and avenues.

In recent days the theme for me seems to be poverty, wealth, and our cultures' (me, more than I like to admit) general obsession with stuff. I pray often that Ridge Church will be a generous church. It sounds good to celebrate and talk about but it only works if you actually have generous people. To have generous people you have to be lead by generous leaders. Generosity doesn't permeate any organizational culture accidentally, and I would venture to say it doesn't permeate any organizational culture quickly.

Here are a few of recent voices in my head that all seem to be addressing the same idea:
  • David Platt, the pastor of Brookhills church, made this statement: "God measures the integrity of our faith by our concern for the poor" Is he right? Is that true? Honestly, I don't know for sure, but I have been thinking about it ever since I heard him say it.
  • Dallas Willard, in the classic "The Spirit of the Disciplines" responds to the false idea embraced by followers of Jesus probably in every generation, that cling to the idea that being poor is closely connected with being spiritual. I love what he says "Being poor is one of the poorest ways to help the poor...if giving is good, having is also good."
  • God's Word: "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31
My conclusion so far: Put it all together and I think followers of Jesus should make piles of money, and be incredibly generous to those in need. But don't be deceived. If you aren't generous when your pile of money is just a meager scraping by, or a pile of pennies, then you will not be generous when/if you ever have an abundance or over abundance. It doesn't really work that way. Jesus said it this way, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much."---A church's generosity to it's "neighbors" will never exceed the generosity of it's individuals.

The real question isn't what will we do when we win the lottery (I don't play--so don't post a comment scolding me:-), or when we get the raise, or close the deal, or when the economy stabilizes? The real question is what are we doing with what we have currently? At least with this subject, NOW is an indicator of LATER. I recently read this statistic and cringed "The average American Christian releases less than 1% of their funds for the cause of Christ." If Jesus words are true, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..." then the above quote/statistic may fall short of telling us where the hearts of people are, but it is abundantly clear where their hearts are not--the cause of Christ! Make no mistake, giving is a very spiritual issue. Truthfully, it's more about us than it is the recipient. AND, I hope the voices inside my head become a singular echoing voice inside yours!

1 comment:

patrick mitchell said...

This is probably your best post yet man! I definitely resonate with it!!! awesome... keep it comin'

oh, and i def. think that david platt guy is right on! (james 1:27)