Friday, May 09, 2014

Money and Witness

Being in the middle of a major vocational transition for the past 8+ months has caused me to think often about money. How can I earn it? How much do we need as a family? Is it God's will for us to be poor, comfortable, or wealthy? Or should we simply be content, whatever the circumstances may be? The short answers to these questions ... I can earn it through honest work, not get-rich-quick schemes or gambling (lottery), using an able body and able mind. We need enough to pay for our home, utilities, food, clothing, and other essentials. That which is over and above is a blessing. I do not believe that God has a specific will for me to be poor, middle class, or especially wealthy, but whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, we are to trust God for provision, not trust in wealth which is very fleeting in nature, and practice contentment in all things.
"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." 1 Timothy 6:17-19
If you haven't given much thought to place money has in your life, you may want to do that. Nothing will emphasize it's place in your heart more as when you have too little of it or too much of it.

Another passage of scripture that has given me food for meditation is 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12.
"But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more [in the practice of brotherly love], and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need."
Being away from the pastorate and (somewhat) public eye has caused me to think about the way my Christian life is viewed by others. In the world of Protestant evangelical Christianity, it is common to put forward a view of Christian life which is outspoken, brash and brazen, which always makes public commentary on the issues of the day. And when I don't fit into that mold as someone who isn't always willing to debate atheists and even Christians via Facebook posts, or make it a regular habit to admonish people outside an abortion clinic, or who has condemning critiques of our president and his policies, then I can become morbidly introspective, asking myself why my faith doesn't stand up to the test. I mean, weren't the disciples of Jesus transformed into bold, evangelistic machines when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and filled them? Aren't we all supposed to be extroverted evangelicals who wear their faith on their sleeves?

While there is always a need to rely on the power of God for living, witness, and testimony, I am also learning to be okay with myself and the kind of person I am in Christ Jesus. My Spirit-filled  personality is elastic--I can take the role of an extrovert for a time-- but at the core of me is an introverted, inner-life-valuing, thinker whose most natural means of influence may be through life example, non-confrontational witness, the written word, and testimony about the life change which accompanies saving faith in Jesus Christ.