Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beyond Greed: some final thoughts (part V)

I really appreciated the immensely practical articles from a variety of authors all the way through this book (though I have not commented on them much). The two articles on Christian lifestyle by D.B. Knox and Sandra King in part V were particularly challenging for me. If, as I pray you are, you are thinking through the implications of what we have read on your life, reflect again on what D.B. Knox says here;
"Before we examine what the New Testament says about it [money] we need to ask ourselves whether we are willing to accept God's thoughts on the subject of money when these are clearly announced in the pages of the Bible and particularly taught by Jesus himself. Does God the Creator know more about the management of money than we do, and are we willing to accept his words as the rule for our conduct in this subject to which we give so much of our attention? Christian obedience means complete obedience and not only in those things where we happen to agree with God. Christian faith means trusting God even when our own views seem to suggest the contrary." (p146)
I would like to encourage all of us, as the new year begins, to take time to reflect again on the passages that under-gird this book (p13-14);

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."
"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment..."
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?"

Here are some other passages that have been helpful to me as this book has spurred me onto taking this issue seriously.

Poverty for its own sake is either virtuous nor uplifting. But as D.B. Knox exhorts us, "all our contacts and relationships with other people should be with the object of serving them." (p149) This will have an impact on how we use our money. Let me leave you with the following immensely challenging suggestions from Sandra King;
"Why not take one step? Make one cutback, simple but radical. Make one choice that will mean that you step away from your peers. For example, skip the weekly family take-away meal. Drop the year's subscription to the theatre. Get rid of some of your investments. Put off the kids' private education- or scrap it altogether. Don't buy new clothes this year. Walk more and use the car less. Forget the overseas trip. Stop buying CDs for a year. Sell the holiday flat. Move into a smaller house.
Then- and here comes the exciting part- take out your cheque book and give away the money you have just saved.

There is no point in just becoming poorer. We do it for a reason- for the sake of the gospel. Cheerfully give away what you have so that God may use you as an instrument of his generosity." (p159)

Why not spend some time praying about this and, with God's help, make a new-year's resolution?

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