15 November, 2005


My church has been doing a recent series on money and the Gospel. The series concluded last Sunday, and, ironically, I started reading the book they handed out ("The Treasure Principle" by Randy Alcorn) tonight during dinner (don't worry, I was alone at the table). Boy, was I convicted. During the message series, I was really convicted of my lackadaisical attitude toward my money. So much of it is taken up by college tuition, that I never had much left to think about. However, during the series, I realized that I hadn't tithed in ages. I still have the paperwork I need to figure out what I owe God, but it went all the way back to May. I was astonished. Not so much that I owed God and hadn't paid, but that I could be so careless about how my few dollars can contribute to the work of the Lord. Sure, it's not much, but what did Jesus say about the woman who gave two coins worth just a penny? "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12: 43-44)

This made me think of my abundance. I, personally, may not be very rich, but my parents who support me during this time in my life are very well-off. This house is a great example of that. I have benefited greatly from my parents' wealth. Yes, I say wealth. Not only do I have a sizable room to myself, but I have a well-stocked kitchen, etc. etc. My basic needs are very well met. On top of that, I have an incredible violin, a wonderful bed, a wonderful pillow, a fantastic computer, clothes and books galore, and pictures for my walls. Maybe God doesn't require me to give up those things I need, but do I honestly need this computer? NEED? Do I need half the clothes I own? Do I need so many shoes? Should I have invested that $80 into God's kingdom, rather than buying myself a large desk?

Now that I've been able to sort through most of my belongings, I'm going to see what I can get rid of for the sake of the Gospel. I don't necessarily care if I get money for it (donating clothes to Salvation Army can spread the Gospel as well), but if God calls me to live unostentatiously, then I should strive to rid myself of any excess. This translates to how I'll spend money in the future. Is that trip to Europe worth more than a 6-month stint at an orphanage for AIDS in Namibia? Which one will spread the Gospel more? I am convicted that I'd put off the Namibia trip since Europe was a higher priority, and I couldn't afford both in one year. Feel free to ask me how I'm doing in this area.

Then, I thought of my college tuition. Granted, someone else is paying college tuition for me (no, not my parents), but college is preventing me from earning a lot more money than I earn now. Of course, once I graduate, my job will pay exponentially more than I could earn otherwise, but what if Jesus returns before I graduate? Would my college education all be for naught? I can't find an answer to this question.

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