Monday, March 10, 2008

an open hand or wealthy in America


Yesterday, our pastor gave a powerfully convicting sermon about being generous. What was so convicting is that he spent a large part of his time proving how wealthy we really are compared to the rest of the world. It is something I know with my head. It is something I have known with my head for a very long time. However, Pastor R managed to convict my heart.

It is not that I am not thankful. I realize that am blessed beyond measure that I can stay home with my girls and that we can afford to send them to a Christian school. However, as I said to hubby after church. It is amazing how wealthy we are and yet how much we struggle financially. Yet, if I am honest. I make many bad decisions financially. I am improving but it is still a struggle. I've noticed that I find it easier to save money if I don't have to go anywhere. Imagine that! ;)

Another thing Pastor R mentioned, which had not really struck me quite the way he phrased it, was that "It is an incredible thing that the leaders of our country" (the grand old US of A) "think that the best way to boost our economy is to send people a rebate check and encourage them to spend it (rather than put it into savings or use it to pay off debt)".

Among the heartfelt statements that passed between hubby and I after church came several wonderful comments and decisions. My favorite comment from hubby is that 'It really puts our carpet into perspective.' I am glad. Our carpet is seriously revolting. It is nearly twenty years old. I know the previous owners had a dog and a three-year-old. I know we have a geriatric dog and have raised two children on it. However, I really don't want to replace it until the mess-making potential of children and dog (we will get a new dog when Willow dies) diminishes. :) I for one am happy to wait. :0

We also decided that we will take at least ten-percent of the rebate and send it out of the US through a Christian organization such as Samaritan's Purse or Compassion International. We will also do the same with our income tax refund. Thus doing our share to undermine the economy of the world's wealthiest nation. ;)

I feel I should postscript this with another comment about the sermon that hubby and I felt was powerful. Pastor R did not suggest we need to feel guilty for being wealthy. Only that we need to share what we have. Also, he did not suggest sharing what we had entailed giving to our church. He says where we share and give is between us and God. One thing about our old church that really bothered us was the insistence that giving should be to your church. It seems a bit self-serving to me.

9 comments:

  1. The Vatican has recently brought out a new list of sins...(how can there be new sins?)...one of which is the excessive accumulation of wealth. I wonder if Solomon would be considered sinful for his wealth.

    You are so right. We struggle with money often, but I know that in comparison with what others suffer even in our own country we are supremely blessed. But even more so God always provides when we hit a brick wall.

    As the Bible says it's the love of money which is the sin, not the money itself. And we are told in 1 John 3:17 (I think ) that if we see a brother in need and we have the means to help but don't we don't have true brotherly love within us.

    Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ..does that last sentence make sense? My punctuation is atrocious...and quite possibly my spelling.

    ...if we see a brother in need and we have the means to help, but don't, how can we say the love of Christ is within us?..

    ...does that read better? Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That was one of my issues with our old church--they are building a new building and decided that that the best way their huge numbers of people could minister was by helping build a much more huge church --poor wording I know but you get the idea.

    When we quit going and started donating our tithe directly to a small ministry that uses almost the entire thing to directly help others (http://adventuresinmissions.org is an awesome organization). It is amazing being able to see all that they are doing and seeing how God is using our small giving.

    Also keep in mind that our government requires much of us that create financial burdens. Not saying we aren't blessed but if, in order to give more, we decided to go without electricity or running water or use an outhouse we would have to jump through a ton of hoops to do it and it would cost us tons to get everything inspected etc--it wouldn't be worth it. It is hard to live cheaply here--which is one reason why, despite our wealth, we are constantly struggling financially.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I liked your post, and I like Sarah and Heather's comments, too. Good stuff to ponder!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous6:01 AM

    Your description of your Sunday sermon has me excited to. I had some ideas on what to do with our tithe, but wondered if it was truly a tithe. Now I am excited about what I want to do. I am happy for you and want to give you a hug. Love NLM

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very thought-provoking and important. We are truly blessed in so many ways. I want to be generous in both spirit and means.

    Sounds like a very good sermon on Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Thanks for pointing folks to Compassion...and compassion in general. You're changing lives. And what better reason is there to blog?

    Thanks for the transparency and confession here.

    -Shaun Groves
    Shlog.com
    CompassionBloggers.com

    ReplyDelete