How do you spend your money…

I was thinking the other day of how I spend my money. It came up when I was discussing the price of NFL tickets and I wondered (out loud) how God might feel about me spending $1,000 for three hours of pleasure, if prices go there.

Many things have influenced my thinking along these line. First my parents, who gave at least 20% of their gross income to the furtherance of the Gospel as long as I knew them. When I was riding an old motorcycle and my friends (whose parents made less money) were riding new ones, I always knew it was because of Dad and Mom’s commitment to use what God had given them as he would lead them. I never once resented this.

Second, in my college years, two things really made me think about what I would do with my time, money, and the things I owned. One was a song by a little-known band named Daniel Amos. The lyrics are here. The other came from Tony Campola. In his video Six Hours One Friday, he paints such an excellent picture of the contrast between the human need of a mother in a third world country and mothers tuned into prosperity preaching ministries.  The picture hit me between the eyes.

Then, early in my professional life, I came across A. W. Tozer’s Five Vows for Spiritual Power. One vow that particularly connected with me was one concerning owning nothing. When I took it I really was delivered from that sense of possessing stuff. Tozer says…

Now the second vow is: Never own anything. I do not mean by this that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from this sense of possessing them….

Now don’t think that you must sell all that you have and give it to charity. No, God will let you have your car and your business, your practice and your position, whatever it may be, provided you understand that it is not yours at all, but His, and all you are doing is just working for Him.

…. Some of the dear Lord’s children are being held back because there’s a ball and chain on their legs. If it’s a man, it’s his big car and fine home. If it’s a woman it’s her china and her Louis XIV furniture and all the rest. Take that vase for instance. There it stands, and if anybody knocked it off and broke it the poor owner would probably lose five years from her life!

From there it was that little book about The Prayer of Jabez. In it, Bruce speaks of stewardship. The prayer asks for an enlarging of one’s territory. At first this seems selfish. But Bruce suggests that within the nation of Israel, territory was used to carry out the mission of Israel — to make God’s holiness evident to the nations. The reason one should desire enlarged territory is to produce greater opportunity to serve.

Later I read over The Purpose Driven Life. By now I was well-acquainted with most of the concepts within the pages, but it affirmed that I have a purpose and I have been given the resources I have to help fulfill that purpose. It’s not about me, so it’s not about my pleasure.

Still — I look at television, at commercials, at ebay, at Amazon, at the malls, at the stores, at the political conventions, at our questions concerning the economy, at my house, at my cars, at my motorcycle, at my vacation spending, and I think — is anyone really concerned with what God wants us to do with what we have? Am I?

Man — we’re trivial.