The Greatest Obstacle To Living Generously

by | Jun 20, 2016 | Uncategorized

Generous

We spend a lot of time worrying about stuff we have no control over. The economy is a GREAT example. Too many waste too much time in worry and fear about the future and the future of their money. For those of us who are Christ-followers, there is no precedent for this way of living.

Jesus knew about worry. He speaks about it very specifically, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?”

From our time in English 101, we know when we read “therefore,” we need to look back to see what it is “there for.” In the previous verse, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. You will either hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Mammon.”

When Jesus says “Mammon,” he is talking about money in the strongest possible terms–the false god of riches. When riches become an object of worship and greedy pursuit, mammon becomes a deity, meaning it has the power to be a god. In other words, it has the power to become another altar where we might worship. Nowhere else in Scripture does Jesus describe anything on earth using deistic terminology.

He knew money would be a serious problem for us, so he prescribes the solution: “Stop worrying, I will take care of you.” In reality, it works in reverse. I have to get to the teaching behind the “therefore” before I find the source of the strength to stop worrying. I have to stop trying to worship at two altars. I need to get myself up from that other altar and worship at the one true altar.

It’s easy to understand but very hard to do.

As church leaders, we must remember that the people in the pew are very perceptive. We can’t fool them. They will follow what we do closer than what we say. We can’t expect our people to live beyond the example the church leadership is setting for them.

Is our leadership posture about money perpetuating fear and worry or is it projecting bold confidence in the providence of God?

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Jim Sheppard

Jim Sheppard is CEO & Principal of Generis, a consulting firm passionate about helping churches inspire and cultivate generosity through giving development, coaching, and strategy. Read More About Jim Sheppard At His Author Page

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