Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Heart of It All

First of all, thanks for all your congratulations and your thoughts from my debt free Friday post. It gave me lots to think about. God has also spoken some to me on the subject so I thought I would share.

First of all, I am reading a book called Revoluation in World Missions. Its by the guy who started Gospel for Asia. Its a really good book, and you can actually get a free copy here. Anyways, as I was reading this past weekend he talked about how social programs, even while done in the name of Christ, will not have the same world changing effects that sharing the gospel will. And so, while I can and should strive to give more, the most important thing I can do is spread the gospel. Because contained in the message of the gospel is to care for the needy. So as more people come to know Jesus, more people will want to care for the needy, therefore more can be done than my giving alone could do. Also, I believe the more people that truly follow after Jesus, the better place this world will be. (I know that there are a lot of people that make this world a worse place "in the name of Jesus" which is why I say truly following after Christ.)

Also, I read this blog  post. While there is lots of good stuff in it, one thing that really resonated with me is the fact that I would much rather have a list of boxes I can check so that I can feel like my relationship with God is good. And how I handle money is one of those things that I would love to have laid out before me so I can follow a formula and check the box and know that I am doing good. This probably has something to do with the fact that I am an engineer, I love cause and effect and formulas. But the truth is, what following after Jesus looks like with respect to how you handle your money is going to look different for everyone. And I think the reason is because God wants our hearts to be humble and for us to acknowledge that we need him. Here is a quote from that post that I think says it well:

"I can become so sure I'm right with God because of external lifestyle decisions, only to be completely separated from God because I have never been humble and contrite in heart."

It is easier for me to do a bunch of things externally (again including handling finances but for sure not limited to that) so that I can feel like I have it together and am doing a great in life. But these things just lead to self reliance and pride. God doesn't want someone who has it all together, he just wants our hearts.

So I can't say that I have it all figured out. The only thing I know is that I can't fix the world's problems. (My mom also sent me a great e-mail on the subject and that was her advice - that you can't fix all the problems on your own, you need to figure out what you can focus on and do it well - great advice mom!) I need to trust God with that. But God has placed me where I am to do good works that he has prepared for me to do. And so even though God has blessed us in a huge way, we are still dependent on Him to know how to be good stewards of what He has given us.

It's cool how in such a short time God has really taught me a lot about this. And I really do appreciate all of you weighed in your opinions. One thing I can feel confident of is that God cares a lot more about our hearts than our finances, but I obviously believe it is true that where you treasure is, there your heart will be also ;)

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