Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Shall We Live?

Well, the question came up as a matter of course in our "Christian Stewardship" class at the seminary. And, well...the answer came a little slowly and a little painfully....

We find ourselves in a consumer world...in a world where advertisements are calling us to bigger, better, faster, sleeker, prettier,...everything "-er." But, as faithful Christian stewards, should we buy into that...and if we say, "NO," then why not?

Part of our answer in class came as we studied Genesis 12:1-3 where God calls Abram...promising to "bless" him with the goal of blessing the world through him. Now, some will say that this is just God's promise to bring Jesus through Abraham...somewhere way down the road. In our class, we determined that God was laying out a pattern/promise/provision for all--God blesses us that we might bless others.

Thoughts, questions and conversations led us to determine that perhaps Christians should not only reject the consumerism of our times but intentionally LIVE BENEATH OUR MEANS in order to bless others. So often when we get a pay raise, or move up to a better job, or get an inheritance check...we decide that God has blessed us so we can BLESS OURSELVES with new toys!! What if Christians really took this idea to heart, the idea of living beneath their means?? What if we bought a house that was enough, but not all we could afford? What if we drove a good used car rather than buying the new one we could afford? What if we chose to stay in a decent hotel on vacation instead of the four or five-star?? What if we chose to eat out less and eat sandwiches more...even if we could afford to eat out all the time??

This is not to say that we would NEVER buy things for ourselves, for we believe that God does want us to be happy and blessed as well. But, to spend all of "disposable" income on ourselves? I think not. We would still be able to enjoy the blessing of God...but we could also do what we are supposed to do with our blessing...we could bless others. We could give to others, do for others, buy for others...we could bless their lives in wonderful and exciting ways. If you've ever taken the opportunity to bless someone else, you already know the joy it brings to both the giver and receiver. What if we adopted a life-style of blessing others?!?!

Well, we found this challenge exciting...even world-changing, if Christians would adopt such an approach to life. Tithing would be easy, giving to others--a joy. And, we probably wouldn't worry as much about our "stuff" if we just had less of it.

May the Lord bless you richly...as you bless others. J