Jul 02 2007
Somehow or another, money has been incredibly front and center in my mind the last couple weeks. It’s like everywhere I turn there is an article, book, or blog about it. Today, Shaun Groves’ wrote about the iPhone (as well as some other fascinating thoughts at the beginning of the blog). The ensuing comments and thoughts I’ve had have put something in terms I’ve never considered.
Most of us, even if we’re somewhat money conscious with no debt, spend very little time thinking about how our monetary expenditures affect the Kingdom of God. When I decide to buy this or that gadget, do I ever consider how that purchase affects the Kingdom of God? No, I don’t. But what difference does it make? Aren’t I just being a little too intense about how I spend my money? It all depends doesn’t it? To the average American ears, yes. But what about the kid right now in Botswana or Tanzania or India who has no water to drink today? What about all the needs in our own cities and throughout the world that are only met by money? Well, I’ve spent myself right out of the solution everytime I go gadget-grabbing.
This is all bad enough already but the line of thought doesn’t stop there. There are two underlying problems to this issue of money mis-management, one under the other. The first layer is tough to swallow. The reason I manage money so poorly is because I am so ignorant. I don’t even know how money OUGHT to be used. I have been socialized in a culture where consuming goods is a pasttime. What is truly incredible is that, somehow, marketers have pulled an incredible coup. First, they convinced us we weren’t cool. Then they convinced us that they could MAKE us cool…for $200. What exactly are we paying for when we buy all our stuff? Granted, some things are necessary for life. And not all expensive things are unnecessary. Please don’t think I’m totally insane. But there’s another issue even more sinister than ignorance.
I don’t CARE that I don’t know about money. And when that’s true, I’m saying, “God, I don’t care about YOU. I don’t care about what You want to do on this earth in redeeming people. I don’t care about anyone else but me.” We’re sinners to the deepest layer.
I’ve been shaken to my soul with this triple realization:
1) I spend money without regard to the Kingdom, Jesus, or anyone else
2) I’m largely ignorant of how money should be used
3) I have, obviously, not cared about that fact (though I’ve known it at various times) because I have remained in ignorance.
The reality of my own sin has grabbed me and it’s ugly to see. Will I continue in my ways as a resounding gong and clanging cymbal, mourning the number of poor in the world while spending myself out of the solution? I don’t want to. I say, with the tax collector, “God, have mercy on me – a sinner.” I pray even now that His mercy to me comes from the bottom-up. That He would cause me to ONLY care about His aims and goals and mission – that He would first give me tangible wisdom as to what those are – which would encourage me to gain wisdom about money which would result in my bank account helping to bring the Kingdom to this earth and more souls into the family of God because of the obedience of Christ. And that He would use me to teach others the same – to walk this road of repentance. It’s a beautiful road and that’s a good thing because the sin is so ugly. But it’s a road that leads to the Cross and there’s forever hope there.