Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Debt, Purpose, Joy and Giving

Back to my conversation with Jim.

At one point we were talking about a class our church was about to sponsor intended to help members handle their finances more wisely.

Jim said something like, "John, you are in a unique position in the church in your ability to give. Most people don't have funds that they can set aside for giving. They are so far in debt . . . "

"Why are they in debt?" I asked.

There are lots of reasons people fall into debt. Many are beyond their control.

Yet I think one great reason is because they have never thought of their purpose. They can't think beyond themselves: "What's in it for me?" "What will please me?" . . . So every time they see something that they think will give them pleasure [see, for example, my post on the Tesla car], they go out and buy it. Then they get into debt.

I wish people were challenged with the bigger picture of what God is doing around the world! Kind of like the way St. Paul talks about stealing. We normally contrast stealing and not stealing. He actually contrasts stealing and giving--you're either involved in positive contributions to the world around you, or you're involved, it seems, in taking from the world. But you're never neutral. Apparently.
Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28; NASB)
--It is so striking to me: all the subjects I have been writing about recently are so intimately intertwined: purpose, joy, giving, our ability to give . . .
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