A week ago I emailed my wife at work after I read a passage from the book of Luke.  Here’s what I read:

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (12:33-34).

And here’s what I wrote:

I don’t want to be one of those guys who meets Jesus face-to-face and says, “I thought that was a metaphor.”

Carly and I have been wrestling with what it means to live counter-culturally and be liberal givers.  We are thinking and praying about what it looks like to reject the Christian version of the American dream.  Things like a big house, nice clothes, luxury vacations, and retirement seem meaningless.  This is what America wants. And I’m sad to say that it’s what many Christians want too; they just do it with a spiritual wrinkle and make it seem and sound like everything is “a blessing from the Lord.”

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t perfect, of course.  We wrestle.  It’s a battle.  Our sin nature tries to get the best of us. But our hearts’ desire is to live seriously, simply, minimally, and prepare to actually sell everything and give to the needy if and when God says, “Now’s the time.”

I know that I’ll hear Christians say, “There’s nothing wrong with having stuff and enjoying things.”  I get this, and I agree. But we draw a pretty thick line here in America.  Where does it stop?  At the end of the day, I always end up at this point: if life is purposeful, and if eternity lasts forever, and if Jesus really did die for our sin, and if hell is real and awful, how can I be content with living in Disneyland and accumulating stuff and comfort?  The answer is always: I can’t.

So that’s where we’ve been swimming lately. It’s a deep ocean and it’s hard to navigate sometimes. Great grace is needed, but great grace is provided.

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3 thoughts on “Where We’ve Been Swimming Lately

  1. Know that you are not swimming alone. There is a lot to this idea. And its hard to wrestle with. The issue of “I am making money right now, and I want to give amounts of it away, but I want to pay off my debt really fast” is a wrestling point that even more complicates this.

    Recently Francis Chan, and some of his examples in Crazy Love really challenged me in this, and this post makes me think even more. Thank you for sharing what Lord Lord has challenged you with.

  2. I hesitate to repeat what has been said, but you are not swimming alone. My wife and I have worked hard to pay off all debt but the house so we could invest in people, missions, and give generously. I am tired of hearing, it isn’t wrong to have “nice things or a house.” The problem lies in the why? Why do I need or want it? Why do I justify it? Well, we no longer buy new cars, my cars is now 8 years old. I would like to sell our house for two reasons, one before we loose it in this market and my unemployment, and secondly, so we can use that payment for the kingdom of God. We don’t flash this or give notice of our life, we just do it. I loved the post this morning.

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