However, many people have imbibed not only an emotional resonance for rights and justice from our culture, but also a consumerism that undermines self-denial and delayed gratification. While they may give some of their time, they spend large amounts of money on entertainment, their appearance, electronics, and travel. For a great number, then, volunteering is part of their portfolio of life-enriching activities, but it is not a feature of a whole life shaped by a commitment to doing justice, including radical generosity with one’s finances.
Our culture gives us a mixed message. It says: make lots of money and spend it on yourself; get an identity by the kind of clothes you wear and the places you travel to and live. But also do some volunteer work, care about social justice, because you don’t want to be just a selfish pig. However, Christians’ attitudes toward our time and our money should not be shaped by our society; they should be shaped by the gospel of Christ, who became poor so that we could become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
A few more thoughts (mostly my opinion). I think it is much easier to preach Jesus and sins then tell the congregation to invest money for the Kingdom of God (side note: this is not just about giving tithes or weekly offerings). I would even wanna say it is easier to tell the congregation to spend more time with church activities (insert go to Prayer Meeting, go to Fellowship, join a program...) than tell them to spend for the Kingdom instead of their own consumption needs (in North America, often this is a self entertainment purpose and not a necessity like food or shelter..). Money is a mix topic. It is personal and tabboo. Perhaps this is the ... this is my money. I have the right to spend it the way I want. What gives you the right to tell me how to spend it.
How often we think of money as a blessing from God...and how often the Bible also often warn about the love of money is not compatible with following God (Jesus in Matthew 6. Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler. James talk about the love of money is root of all evil.)
It is truly an upside down way of living....when we strive to live with the Kingdom investment first....then spend secondary for oneself. Rather than follow the culture of I make as much as I can, find ways to save as much as I can so I can spend and enjoy as much as I can.
Yesterday, I was sharing with a youth ministry about a mission trip we went earlier in the summer. The pastor asked me about missional living...I shared about purposely trying to hold back from owning a car as long as possible in order to use that money for mission purpose. In highschool, owning a car is a symbol and status of independence and freedom. Priorities definitely change when one's eye is on the Kingdom.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."