I’m going to ramble in this post. I’m just freestyle writing and sharing what comes to my mind … Proceed with caution.
1. I don’t know very much about the topic of Bible and money.
I hope that doesn’t bother you that I openly admit my lack of knowledge. This weekend I’m going to be part of a men’s leadership training day here in Alotau, PNG and we’ll be talking about the Bible and money. The trouble is I don’t feel like I know what to say. I feel like the issue is complex. I started this blog by focusing on the word ‘journey’ – a journey to discover what the Bible teaches about money. I’m still on that journey.
We don’t see many malnourished kids here in PNG. Fortunately, the land is often rich with produce and people get enough to eat most days. But, this week I saw a young boy with a huge bloated stomach. If I felt I knew everything about the Bible and money, that would not be an issue to me. But, I asked myself what is my obligation to children like this? What of my guilt? It is from God?
I hope you continue to join me on this journey.
2. Preconceived assumptions are dangerous.
I’ve come to find that I believe a lot of things about the Bible and money for two reasons. (1) Because that was what I was taught to believe it. The problem with this is that those who taught me are not infallible. (2) Because that is what my culture accepts. Being outside of North America I’m forced to reanalyze certain texts and say – could this mean something different than I’ve always assumed it to mean?
3. There are some fantastic resources available on the internet.
My first lesson (that I don’t know very much on the topic) would be very disconcerting to me if there weren’t some guys and gals out there who know their stuff. There is a whole group of Christian personal finance bloggers who write on the topic. Unfortunately, I can’t list all of them here, but if you check out a Christian Finance Carnival, you’ll find some of those other blogs.
4. Making the Bible and money topic marketable can be hard.
There’s a big difference between preaching and blogging. When I preach, you show up at church and are forced to sit though about 20 minutes of my preaching. If you don’t like it, there is enough social pressure to force you to stay put.
But, online there is a BACK button. If you don’t like it, you hit the road. The obvious answer is to make the material palatable for everyone. Unfortunately, I tend to call that watering down the message.
So, I’ve taken the approach to say it like I read it. That means I’ve challenged some of us. I’ve questioned some of us. I’ve even come to the conclusion that you (and I) might be wrong.
In the end, I’m not here to market a product or make it appealing. I’m here to find out what the Bible teaches about money.
5. Christians have different opinions about things.
Shocker, isn’t it?
6. We all need grace to cover our multitude of sins.
Ink is a mighty good accuser. I’ve written things that I probably shouldn’t have written. I’ve become defensive on comments I probably should have ignored. I’ve challenged people who might not have been ready for the challenge. If I’ve done something to hurt you, I’m truly sorry.
I want take a moment and remind each of us that every one of my posts is a work in progress. That is what I like about the comments; you help me refine each post.
7. The importance of calling and joy
I don’t think God has a robotic financial plan for everyone. According to your giftedness and natural disposition, God is calling each of us to do different things with our money.
Thus, it is a mistake for me to judge your spending, earning, and giving based on the way God made me.
Some people are given the God given opportunity to make huge sums of money. They labor to earn that money, they enjoy the nice perks that come with that money, and in turn they also fund a lot of different Christians ministries and organizations. To God be the glory.
Some people are given the God given opportunity to live very simple lives. They live simplistic lives where they earn a small to moderate income. They won’t be writing 5 digit checks to their church, but they will be the first ones there for a yard clean up or to stock the pantry.
God made us different, and so we honor God with our money according to the way we were made.
8. Finding my own sense of financial direction.
I think I’ve benefited the most from writing this blog. Thanks for helping me grow this way.
My wife and I have slowly been discovering how God wants us to use our gifts and our financial resources in service to his kingdom.
In comparison to a lot of people in North America, I don’t think I’ll ever make a lot of money in my lifetime – and I’m perfectly OK with that.
But, I do want to live below my means and share my surplus. I want to keep an even cost of living so any additional blessing from God goes to help others as much as it is to help myself.
This gives us joy. It is how God has equipped us.
Most importantly, I want to make myself (instead of my money) available as a service to churches. No matter what I’m doing, I always will be working for God.
Thanks for being a reader and sharing in this Bible and money journey.