Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Radical thoughts

Back in college I knew a couple, Brian and Joanna, that sold their car and bought bicycles. It made little sense to me at the time. As a newlywed man, it seemed like obtaining a car was the natural progression in attaining the American Dream.

Twenty-five years later, there seems to be some prescient wisdom in their two-wheeled decision. At least that is what I thought this morning as I read David Platt's book, Radical - Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.

Platt is challenging me in some pretty significant ways. Chief among them is the challenge to rethink how I view wealth and financial resources. Here is some of what he has to say:
Are we willing to ask God if he wants us to sell everything we have and give the money to the poor? Are we willing to ask and wait for an answer instead of providing one of our own or justifying our ideas of why he would never tell us to do this? This seems a bit radical, but isn't it normal and expected when we follow a Master who said, "Any of you who does not give up everything cannot be my disciple"?

Once again, we find ourselves back at what it means to follow the Jesus of the Bible, not the Jesus we have created and are comfortable with. The rich man in Mark 10 didn't see Jesus for who he was. The rich man perceived him as a respectable religious figure, calling him "good teacher." However, Jesus was not, and never is, interested in being seen as a respectable teacher. He is the sovereign Lord. He doesn't give options for people to consider; he gives commands for people to obey.

So, then, what if he told you and me to sell everything we have? What if he told us to sell our houses for simpler arrangements? What if he told us to sell our cars for more modest ones - or for no cars at all? What if he told us to give away all but a couple of sets of clothes? What if he told us to empty the savings account we have been building for years if not decades? What if he told us to change our lifestyles completely?

Now, before you and I think of all the reasons he would not tell us to do these things, we need to think about this question first: is he Lord?

Are you and I looking to Jesus for advice that seems fiscally responsible according to the standards of the world around us? Or are we looking to Jesus for total leadership in our lives, even if that means going against everything our affluent culture and maybe even our affluent religious neighbors might tell us to do?

Jesus never intended to be one voice among many counseling us on how to lead our lives and use our money. He always intended to be the voice that guides whatever decisions we make in our lives and with our money.

1 comment:

Party of 5 said...

If I could leave a "thumbs up" or "like" this, I would. Instead I'll just say...wow. Thanks for making me think!