What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pandoran Box Fears, Giving, and Breakdancing

The top two things that couples fight over are sex and money--not sure if its in that order, but I think that depends on the couple. In churches, which operates with a weird mix of characteristics including marriage, business, social club and philanthropic organization, I think money probably leads hands-down.

So it's no surprise that I've had lots of interesting conversations with friends who are on the journey towards faith about giving money as it relates to trust in God--whether that's giving to the church or any other faith-generated giving.

I had one conversation a while ago where someone who's on the journey towards Christ and who was asking the "where's this going to lead" question.

If I start giving some of my money in response to God, what am I getting into? Is it okay if I save for retirement? Will it mean that I stop saving for my kids' college? Is it okay to have cable t.v, a nice house, a couple cars--or will all those things have to be given away, too?

This person, like most of us, was trying to minimize potential collateral damage. If he opened the proverbial pandoran box, what's to keep things from careening out of control into living in a commune with AIDS victims in the slums of Kenya? Was it possible that God would ask that much of him?

The answer, of course, is maybe. But I didn't think that would help very much.

So I made an analogy. Every dad delights in the first steps of his kids. For a very small percentage, those first steps will some day lead to training for the Olympics or in some other way building their entire lives around walking that leads to running. Still a few more will run marathons or half-marathons.

But for most of us, those first steps are simply indicative of what we'll be doing for most of our lives. Walking is a certain freedom and power. Not being able to walk is debilitating. And when you take those first steps of walking, there's no telling where it all will lead. But all of us need to walk if it's at all possible.

Same thing with giving. Giving as I've argued before, should lead us to breakdancing. Because money lies about its own power and giving it away frees us from one of the most powerful lies in all the universe.

Every dollar put in the offering plate or given to your favorite InterVarsity staff worker (I couldn't resist) should be accompanied by a jig and shouts of joy. Again, this month, I'm choosing freedom! Again this month I'm saying a resounding "no" to the lies I'm tempted to believe about what money can do for me! Again this month I'm saying no to becoming a slave to money! Again this month I'm choosing to trust Jesus to give me life, to be my security and to take care of me rather than these digits in my bank account!

Giving is treason against all the forces of evil that have staked a claim on us. It is an act of rebellion against the forces that conspire to destroy us--even and especially inside of ourselves.

And for some of us, that first act of giving might put us on the path that leads straight to a life of poverty and giving up everything in order to follow Christ--just like the Olympic athletes. But for most of us, we take those first steps of giving in order to know the freedom from money as a god--and that's more or less where we stay for the majority of our lives.

No matter where it leads, if we're not yet walking, it's time to take that first step.

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