Monday, June 15, 2009

the antidote

well, i was comforted to hear that several of you are struggling with the same things as me (although i probably shouldn't be comforted in sinful struggles, well you know what i mean). money and things can be a beast i tell ya! 

anyhow, this morning is kinda funny bc i am sitting in starbucks, sipping my espresso drink, listening to my off brand mp3 player and doing my bible study. why is that funny? bc its a bible study on stewardship! i felt very american this morning! but in my defense, the starbucks was cheap bc my hubby works here and gets a discount, and the mp3 player was my 'big' christmas present this year from my mom. (now the macbook i am typing this blog on is a different story and is taunting me as i talk about all of this! ha)

regardless, i wanted to build off of my posts on worry  & contentment last week. One of the next day's points in my devo was that " few people lust after mere dollar bills. Instead, money plays into idolatries of security, or comfort, or approval, or power. We like money bc it gives us something we want." This is so true for me. I am not a person that lusts after having actual money, or wanting to be rich. For me it is about comfort and security, knowing that my needs and minor wants will be met. I am not usually very controlled by the big wants (maybe its bc i know they are probably out of reach?) like a new car (or minivan) or nicer house or big tv etc. I am controlled by the security of knowing we have more than enough to pay the bills, go out to eat, give, and buy the small things i just want. Like if i want a new book etc. 

But the truth is, the problem isnt the money part. Its the trusting money instead of God part. It is (in the words of Tim Keller) the "taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing". Money is not in and of itself bad. Neither is paying the bills, eating out or buying a book. But making those things the ultimate things that bring me security and comfort and happiness, that is a bad thing. 

Enter today's devo. It was titled "The Antidote".  Yay, there's an antidote! It focused on the fact that the purpose of wealth is to do good with it. The past few days have taught on 1 Tim 6. In chapter 6, Paul tells timothy to teach the rich to invest their wealth into eternal purposes. He doesn't tell him that the rich just need to become poor and give everything away (although for some that may be what is called of them- remember the rich young ruler that Jesus told to sell everything and follow him?), but instead that the purpose of having it is to "do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share (1 tim 6:18)". 

the purpose of wealth is to do good with it. The antidote for money's poisonous effect in our lives is generosity. it is to crave giving more than getting. do you crave giving? me neither. i give, and i love to give. but i wouldnt say i crave it. so the point isnt trying to make ourselves not want things or to never buy a thing again. it is to know that every good gift we have is from the Lord, He is the creator of all and the sustainer of all. That means EVERYTHING under the sun is His. so we must work towards desiring first and foremost to minister with what he has given us. it is only then that the rest wont control us. it is then that we will be able to type on macbooks without being controlled by them (or whatever your example may be ;) ). 

i urge you to do two things today. number 1: read 1 tim 6 and pray thru it in your life. number 2: ask yourself what your life would be like if for every penny you spent on yourself you gave a penny. John Newton committed to doing this when he lived, to remind him what was the most important thing. I think simply writing out on paper how much money that would be might be the wake up call we need to adjust some spending. 

may we persevere on saints... and by God's good grace we will! 

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