Someone recently emailed and said that they sold all their investments so they could give the money away.
My first reaction was to try and write an email response that indicated my concern.
- Was that really the wisest thing to do at this point in your life?
- How did you determine that God really wanted you to do that?
- What happens if something does not go as planned?
Why is that?
Why would I be the one to tell the widow to reconsider giving away her last two pennies? Why would I be the one to tell the woman who anointed Jesus that a few tablespoons would be enough to honor him? Why would I suggest that the widow of Nain kindly refuse the request to bake bread for the prophet?
Partially, I think we’ve created a predictable and well defined Christian culture. We expect Christians to fit nicely within the boxes we’ve created, and we’re deeply concerned when someone starts doing something we consider weird, crazy, or radical (exempt now those terms are in vogue for Christians as they are all titles of popular Christian books).
In his book, Money, Possessions, and Eternity, Randy Alcorn talks about how a young convert wanted to sell his house and give the money away. Unfortunately, in Alcorn’s opinion, other Christians convinced him it was a bad idea. Francis Chan was recently saying that it’s often been the Christians around him who hold him back when he’s considering doing something they label as crazy.
What are we called to be?
The guardians of the faith? The financial advisors who protect normalcy? The protector of the box? The police of all that is predictable?
Are we spiritual lifeguards who need to encourage everyone to stay in the shallow end because there is much more risk in the deep end?
Honestly, I make myself uncomfortable talking like this, but truthfully, a lot of what the Bible says makes me highly uncomfortable.
Forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven you. Show hospitality to strangers. If anyone asks for your coa,t give him your tunic too.
Have we settled into a well defined and predictable Christian culture?
Are we holding people back whom God is seeking to propel forward?
I’m thankful for all the feedback I got on my post Trying to Practice What I Preach. I received a lot more emails than blog comments. I guess people wanted to keep their remarks more private.
But there was a sentiment of concern in the emails I received.
People would say things like, Why would a family who is giving 30% of their income not feel satisfied? What wouldn’t a family who is giving 30% just accept the fact that that’s a generous life and go ahead and indulge themselves?
No one said that, but the sentiment was there.
I did have one person who chided me, essentially saying, “only 30%?”
This morning, I asked my wife if there was something more we could cut from the budget so we’d have more to give?
Why don’t we challenge ourselves to be more generous, more selfless, more giving?
I think C.S. Lewis would say it’s because we are far too easily pleased.
C.S. Lewis says (The Weight of Glory),
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
I think about the things in life I’m satisfied with while God seeks so much more from his relationship with me.
It’s a fearful thing to be a propeller when you feel like being an anchor. Yet, if God is who he claims to be and if the biblical promises are what they claim to be, we should be the propellers thrusting people forward in a faith-filled life full of uncertainty, anticipation, and the blessings of God.
Why do you think we tend to be anchors in our advice to others? Is that what you think God calls us to be? How do we balance wisdom with a radical call of discipleship? Does God want balance?