A while ago I had an epiphany while sitting in Starbucks discussing the book The Life of a God-Made Man with my good friend Aaron. It’s one that I need to remind myself of over and over again. I’ve enjoyed the book and our discussions together, but today I was mildly frustrated with a paragraph in the chapter “A Man and His Wealth.” Here’s what the author, Daniel Doriani, writes,
“Being rich towards God means [seeing] that an old car can be viewed as an embarrassment or as a gift to the kingdom. If you have $40,000, which is the nobler use – to purchase one ‘cool’ vehicle or to provide a century of food, clothing, and Christian education for impoverished children overseas (ten children for ten years at $400 per year)?”
I certainly agree in substance with what Doriani is saying, but where do you draw the line? Should I choose a $5000 clunker of a mini-van or a reliable and comfortable $15,000 mini-van? It could certainly be argued that using the extra $10,000 could be used for more noble purposes. Ok, what about a $10 movie (which is really $20 because I never go alone)? Can I justify going to a movie or should I find a nobler use for the money?
In my conversation with
We’re all drawn, by our nature, to legalism. In part, I think, because it allows us to dodge tough heart issues (and in part because it fuels our pride). Steve Brown just might be right when he contends, “I believe that we show our depravity less by the bad stuff we do than by our reversion to Pharisaism” (A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel).