Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Being Content

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." [6] So we can confidently say,

"The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV)
Keeping oneself free from the love of money, would that I was better at that. Back in the day when I had money I found it a little bit easier. Or perhaps I just took money for granted when I didn’t have to worry about room and board, and had a steady paycheck, and no debt to speak of. Perhaps I wasn’t as free from the love of money as I thought. Today it gets a little harder. Being content with what one has is a saintly gift if there ever was one. I have never starved. Really I can’t say that I have ever been left in want. I have had the pains for financial squeeze, and would that I could rid myself of that. But being content with what I have seems a bit hard. Quite frankly I find that coveting is one of my worst sins. It is one of those sins that has infected our time and day. It seems to come on strongest when people have more. Why is that. Why is it the more I have, the more I seem to want? Perhaps I can blame it on advertizing agencies.
But it gets worse. There are strains of theology passing for Christianity that are built upon coveting. Really there are. And it isn’t always the crasser name it and claim it theologies. The so called “prosperity gospels.” Most stewardship sermons that are given tug on the covetous strings of the heart. Even in orthodox churches. Evangelicals are notorious for letting legalism slip in through the back door, by claiming that justification is not dependent on good works, but God’s blessings are. Good works become a means of manipulating blessings from God. Yuck! Don’t use me or any other neighbor as a means to manipulate God! That isn’t a good work. What it is is paganism.
Sure God promises to bless you, and if you weren’t so covetous you might realize that he has already. He is our helper and we need not fear that he will forsake us or leave us. All that we have he has given us. People think they can’t afford to tithe etc. Churches in order to get their people to tithe start twisting verses to promise that God will give you more than you already have if you tithe. Hmmm. God will do what he wants and he won’t be manipulated. Being a Christian we can expect hardship. The world crucified our Lord we probably shouldn’t be expecting much better.
Rather I think tithing might be a good exercise in training ourselves not to covet or love money. By learning to tithe we learn to be content with what we have, and to trust in God who has given us all our blessings despite our evil and covetous hearts. And learning to do that would be a blessing indeed.

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