Today Natey wrote a “note” on Facebook, which for all you non-facebook folks out there, is basically like a blog entry. Since I thought it was so good (and I’m not biased AT ALL), I thought I would post it here so that you non-facebookers can read it too.
“Investing in the Kingdom” by Nate Bonham
Isn’t it amazing where we invest the blessings God has given us?
Recently, I have been working through some diaconate resources as our church is establishing it’s first board of deacons. It has been as challenging as it has been encouraging. As Nikki and I have begun seminary and pursuing the mission field, I have also been trying to examine the American culture and how it relates to Scripture and our Biblical mandate for obedience. In the midst of America’s wealth, where is the balance between what we may keep and what we should give to the church and the needy? One book I have been working through struck the essence of the question and pierced my own heart. The author did not try to dodge the question or water down the Scripture to avoid stepping on the toes of it’s readers. He boldly proclaims the answer… “It is simply this: give away to the needy all the goods, time, talent, effort which you want to invest in the kingdom.”
Wow! During this time of economic downturn I can’t help but mourn for the Body of Christ — the Church. Myself included, I mourn that instead of investing in the expansion of the Kingdom, we have sent our checks to Wall Street to see them vanish. Many Christians have watched their portfolios deteriorate over 40% in the past year. Imagine just for a moment if we had sent that 40% to our churches, ministries, and missionaries. Imagine what an impact we could have made. When we will realize “we may only keep what is needed for our divine calling” (and yes, we ALL have a divine calling)? If this is what God uses to wake us up to our sinfulness and greed, then may His will be done.
Isn’t it also amazing how the heart of giving is a spiritual discipline? When you ask a Christian how he or she is doing in their spiritual disciplines, they will often express their diligence in reading the Bible or praying or “quiet times” (or lack there of). I don’t know about you, but I have never heard a confession on a Christian’s perseverance in fasting. Fasting seems to be an art of antiquity to the modern-day Christian. We hold to the reality of prayer (even though most do not understand it) and we lose sight of our need of fasting. “So what is your point,” you may ask? Isaiah 58:6-7 tells us:
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”
When we fail to give our money, time, gifts, and effort to others, we miserably fail at a spiritual discipline as essential as prayer. God demands our fasting be to the benefit of others. When we give to others, it should be a sacrifice… it should hurt. The author of the aforementioned book also points out that “we are quite willing to share our faith with others, something which costs us nothing. But what love requires is sharing goods which cost us a great deal of effort to obtain.”
To any Christian who may read this, may you use this time of worry and anxiety to examine where your investments may lie. Have you put your treasures where “moth” and “rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Have you put more faith in the hands of your investment manager than you have in your Creator? May we run towards the cross faster than we run towards our checking accounts.
Berghoef, Gerard. THE DEACON HANDBOOK: A MANUAL OF STEWARDSHIP. Christian’s Library Press, 1973.