Tuesday, April 17, 2007

All over money, money, money, money, money.

Blogging can be a terribly self-indulgent thing. However recently I have found it of great benefit on my journey. The 'rich' thing is not just a conversation of words for me. I'm really trying (and struggling) to work out practically how to live as a follower of Jesus in this area.

Some of the comments on the posts about 'counter-culture' and 'rich Christians' have both inspired me and wrecked my head.

Here are some thoughts/questions.
1. Poverty isn't the alternative to being rich. Just having enough is.
2. As Ivonne said, we need to reach wealthy people as well as the poor. How do we do this if there are no wealthy Christians?
3. Ricky and Brian speak of how God uses affluent Christians to bless others. I know that I and many of our young people would never have been able to go on the mission trips we have without the help of such people.
4. Nina eloquently points out that all of us in the west are rich. The solution is to be FREE (from the constraints of poverty and riches).
5. Gav contrasts Jesus' stories of the 'talents' and the 'sheep and goats'. Does God want us to prosper simply to help the poor?
6. Stefan wrote about the Hebrew understanding of justice, repentance, and redistribution in the Old Testament. This still confuses me somewhat as prosperity does seem to be a gift from God in the OT.

7. As my younger (wiser) brother Dave said, much of what Jesus says is "you have heard this (in the OT) but i now say this (as a New Testament)":

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God."
"Do not store up riches on the earth"
"No-one can serve two masters -God & money"

I feel a lot more informed on the issue but still seem to have more questions than answers. I love this verse....

'Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.' (vv 7-9).
Proverbs 30

Any tips on how to make this practical?


Jen said...

I reckon it comes back to wise stewardship. I don't think any of us are called to seek to become wealthy-but if we are blessed because we give 100% to God by working hard in what he has called us to do, and we become wealthy as a result, that we use it wisely, we seek how God would have us spend that money. That is to say We steward it wisely, because it isn't ours, but HIS. I am not by any means implying I do this already. I am terrible with money. But i have a friend who demonstrates this principle so well. Her attitude is that of Paul- that she can live with whatever money God chooses to give her and use it to bless.

Brian Heasley said...

Great summary Jon, cheers mate, keep living with the questions

John Martin said...

I herd a story once of 4 Friends in University who decided once they had jobs they would live as they did when they were students as long as they could (money for petrol, food, rent etc). They met every couple of months to discuss where their money was going and what they were doing with it.

I think accountability is key in this area...

Ivonne said...

I may be over simplistic and optimistic, but I believe that the way to "achieve justice", is to look for it.
As for prayer, in our desire/strive to honour God and serve one another in love, something remarkable changes:not only often the circumstances around us are transformed (goodness rubs off!), but most importantly, we are shaped into a more compassionate, righteous, Christ-like shape. Keep on thirsting for justice - clinging onto God is what makes us more effective followers! ...just a thought! I think you have that thirst about you - don't lose it!