“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Those words inspired a conversation I had recently with a friend. The struggle for understanding the Bible when it comes to wealth, poverty, generosity, and sacrifice is not a new one. The Bible itself talks about both subjects at length. Interpretations which focus on one side of the coin are half right–and half wrong. A holistic Biblical view of poverty and wealth is not attainable in a single blog post.
What is attainable is a challenge–an experiment, really–that anyone can take part in. Rather than dividing it’s participants, I believe it can unite us instead. It may take some sacrifice, but it’s one that I think is worth making. With the above passage in mind, and with all of us seeking to do the right thing more often, here’s the challenge I have.
Could you find $25 in your monthly budget to give to The 25 Group? I say “find” because you might have to look for it. It probably isn’t just sitting there, waiting for you to spend it. In fact, it might even take sacrificing something.
I recently heard from a mom of three who was driving up to get her fountain soda (a modest weekly indulgence) when she realized she could give up the tradition and donate that money instead. She wrote me about it and told me that even though she didn’t stop for a Coke often, she was going to give it up for a while and send that money to The 25 Group instead. A small sacrifice is still a sacrifice. I was moved by her gesture.
Maybe it’s your coffee. Maybe it’s your cable television. Maybe it’s your car. I don’t think everyone is obligated to sacrifice the same things, but I do think everyone is called to sacrifice. Is it wrong to drive a high-priced car while some people are starving to death? That’s a question we’ll have to leave for another blog post. Is it wrong to live in a McMansion when some folks don’t have clean water to drink? Again, that’s a debate for another time.
What I do know that if you aren’t willing to loosen your grip on your stuff–big or small–then it’s not a possession. It’s an idol. So whether it’s your car or your house or your high-paying job or your Starbucks habit or your eating out budget or your family vacation savings, we all have something we need to think about. I think we all would do well to survey our lives, identify our idols, and smash them in favor of following Jesus instead. We need to all give up something for something that’s better.
And while you struggle with the big decisions, maybe a small first step is the place to start. You can donate a monthly gift to The 25 Group by clicking here and helping us to leverage our collective wealth to meet needs all over the world.
I’d love to dialogue with you. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Thanks for reading.