Creative Chaos @ The Soul.
Today I hope we provide some concrete answers. The beauty of this blog conversation and my conversation with Rose is that there are no concrete answers. As you can tell, I don’t deal with this very well, but I am doing my best to open up to God’s moving without specific answers. Here is the rest of our conversation:
Me: I totally understand that many of the things I feel called to cost money (guitar, schooling, etc.) and I need to have a way to pay for them. I also can see that God has blessed us with jobs, a car, a place to live, and I don’t need to give them up. But we still haven’t figured out how we can serve “the least of these” and also serve money. In some way we are serving money by working jobs, paying bills…all those things are money oriented. So how can we live to do these money oriented things and also serve the God who desires everything from us?
Rose: I think the biggest thing is how you spend your time. If someone chooses to work longer and allows that to be their top priority then I think they have their priorities wrong. In our situation, we don’t have a ton of money, but we do have time that we can give. I think everyone has time. When I spend time with my small group girls, I feel so much more fulfillment than anytime I have a big day at work. I try and focus my mind on eternity and not material things that are of the here and now.
Me: I like to think of how I can sanctify myself from unbelievers. How can I show that I am different? I think a lot of my life and a lot of the “average” Christian life, does show a difference but I don’t think finances is one of those ways. Christians spend lavishly just as much as anybody else. I look at my own life and wonder how much different I look than the average person with how I spend my money. Just because somewhere around 10% of our money might go to a church and humanitarian efforts doesn’t mean I have set myself a part with my finances. At the same time, I don’t think we spend money on anything crazy. But, I want to challenge us to think of ways to be sanctified with our spending outside the 10% we already give away. 10% is pretty pathetic if you ask me, and it is probably sad that I let it be the benchmark.
Rose: This takes me back to when we were really struggling financially and had some unfortunate things happen and people just gave us money…and we still don’t know who those people are. My trust in the Lord and confidence in His provision has never been the same since then. I want my spirit to be listening to Him so when others are in a similar situation, God can use us to help them through. To me the real giving of yourself, is giving of your heart, not just money. As long as your heart is rooted in Jesus and in love then I don’t think money is the problem.
Shane Claiborne was asked this: How do we combat the pull toward materialism, and what does simplicity look like in the 21st Century?
His response has stuck with me since I read it:
“I think the most important question is not what I should give away, because the Scriptures say you can sell everything you have and give it to the poor, but if you don’t have love it’s nothing. So the deepest question around simplicity is about love, and redistribution of resources is only meaningful inasmuch as it’s rooted in love. When we really figure out how to live in the personalism and love of Christ with our neighbor, then that defines what’s enough so that we’re not just driven by an ideology, but by a love relationship to our neighbor.”
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.