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April 15 | James 5:1-6


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Uncomfortable Verses

by Pr. Dave Mann


Passages like James 5:1-6 always make me feel uncomfortable. After all, it’s not like I am really wealthy. I am solidly in the middle class–not poor but certainly not rich, at least by U.S. standards. Then, if I am honest, I have had the privilege of living in several other countries and it is clear that the U.S. middle class, when compared to the majority of the world’s population, is certainly well-to-do. I have no worries about finding food to eat, sleeping in a warm (or cooled) house, having more than enough clothes, a car or two, going on an occasional vacation, etc.

 

And to make matters worse, James 5:1-6 does not stand by itself. There are many more passages like it in the New Testament, challenging me with my relationship with money. Unfortunately, none of these passages specifies a percentage of our income that I should give away, after which I can feel self-satisfied: “Whew! I’ve reached the prescribed level.” You may be thinking, “What about the tithe?” That is just the starting point. John Piper describes it this way: “The New Testament gives a relentless push toward a wartime simplicity and economy for the sake of the kingdom — away from luxury and affluence and finery.” For more from John Piper on this topic, click here.

 

The rich young ruler was told to sell everything (Mark 10:21).

Zacchaeus gave away half of his goods to the poor (Luke 19:9).

Jesus said in Luke 14:33 that in order to be his disciples, we must renounce everything we have.

 

Here are several more passages that address our uncomfortable relationship with money.

 

Then, there is C.S. Lewis, who also agrees with the New Testament. In Mere Christianity he wrote: “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

 

It appears to me that the goal of the Holy Spirit on this topic is to keep us reading his Word, praying, and loosening our grip on money (so that it loosens its grip on us).

 

PRAYER

O Lord, I truly need help regarding Mammon. I find myself trying to justify my status quo. I desperately want to feel okay with the way I live my life now. But I also feel the nudge of the Spirit to be open to change. Lord, I want to be willing to do whatever you want me to do. Come, Holy Spirit, lead me deeper and deeper into your life-giving ways, in Jesus’ name, Amen.





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1 Comment


robin.lorms
Apr 15

Good morning, Dave. Boy am I glad I read today's blog!!! LOL. If most of us are honest about today's reading ,we must admit being convicted that our giving is not to the point of being "sacrificial". Our household is now 80 years old and we can't help but think of the uncertainties of the future, especially health and the enormous costs of staying alive too long. My prayer is that God will change my heart about "having enough" to cover such unexpected expenses and let Him be God and allow my future to unfold as He has already planned. In the meantime, please pray for us to be good stewards of His gifts and honor Him with our finances.


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