For the last couple of weeks in this space I’ve been sharing some thoughts about money. In particular, why we love it so much. I’ve suggested that we love it because it is a currency that we exchange for the things we really want, namely: Power, Pleasure, Identity, Security and Rest. And that it’s a counterfeit because it falsely promises those things which we are meant to find in God. Of course, the counterfeit is convincing and we often mistakenly seek to satisfy our legitimate longings for Power, Pleasure, Identity, Security and Rest with an illegitimate way: by grasping for and holding onto money.
As we wrap up this miniseries, I’d like to suggest that there is a way to free ourselves from the enslaving effects of money which keep us from being radically generous. Consider this brilliant insight from Thomas Chalmers:
“Desire is not to be got rid of simply by destroying it. It must be removed by substituting another desire; by presenting to its regard another object more alluring.”
“Another object more alluring.” That is a super important thing to understand about yourself. The only way to get rid of one desire is to replace it with a better one. To present “to its regard another object more alluring.”
Will you indulge me to speak of the One who is more alluring?
2Co 8:9 says,
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Jesus is incredible and He’s generous. But He’s not just generous in the abstract, He’s generous to you! Have you experienced His generosity, or merely observed it? If, and when, you see that Jesus became poor for you, it will change your life.
See, you don’t love because He loves; you love because He loves you. You don’t forgive because He forgives; you forgive because He forgave you. You aren’t generous because He’s generous; you are generous because He is generous to you. It is our experience of His grace and not the mere knowledge of it, that helps us believe He will provide the power, pleasure, identity, security, and rest we long for. And that is what enables us to loosen our grip on the things we suddenly find less alluring.
If we are merely giving 1%, or 2%, or 5% of our money away, that’s a symptom. Our failure to live with generosity suggests that we aren’t experiencing generosity, at least not knowingly. Jesus calls us to give at least a tenth of our wealth away to Him. He wants us to invest in His work, to trust Him, to live free from the love of money. If we aren’t doing that, it may be because we are slaves to it. It may be that we don’t own our money because our money owns us.
The experience of generosity begets generosity. So ponder, relish and delight in Him. Feed your soul with an experience of His goodness to you. Meditate on the One who became poor that you might become rich.
Let your love of money awaken you to the beauty of Christ and His superior ability to meet those very needs. Trust Jesus rather than money to be your source.
And then: Be generous, invest in the work of the Kingdom! Not just because the world is filled with needs, but because it is an opportunity for you to exercise your trust that God will provide the things you long for most of all, and that money falsely promises to provide.
Let us be a church that does not put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. Instead, let us put our hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Let us be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share and take hold of the life that is truly life.
Much grace to you as you discover new depths of His generosity to you,