Last night I finished my re-read of Randy Alcorn’s book, Money, Possessions and Eternity. I have a feeling that the thoughts presented will stick with me for quite a while.
This book has really challenged my thoughts on giving. I was taught at a very early age to give money every week to the church, and God has certainly blessed me with an ever-increasing delight in giving to His work in my home church. However, He has also blessed me with an over-abundance of financial and material benefits, particularly compared to most of the world’s population–benefits and blessings that I am not meant to hang on to, but rather to share with others.
I am giving more and more thought about just how much money I truly “need”. How many pairs of shoes or purses or lipsticks are really necessary? How many retirement accounts do I really need? Am I putting more faith in bank accounts and IRAs and 401(k)s than I am in God?
I’m not saying that I feel God is calling me to liquidate all my assets, give away all my money and live on the streets. Nor do I think it’s wrong to have more than one pair of shoes, or to enjoy going to Starbucks or buying books or other treats. But I am realizing that, while He does give us everything for our enjoyment (I Timothy 6:17), that enjoyment is not meant to be selfish, nor should our hope and confidence be in the gifts He gives us.
I want to have a more generous heart, a heart filled with compassion for others who are suffering, and a heart that is compelled by that compassion to not just be filled with pity or to pray for those in need, but to do something–to give when I can. I don’t want to hoard money and material goods for my own use. I want to loosen the grip that I have on my wallet and checkbook and to be sensitive to when God is prompting me to share with others what He’s so richly blessed me with.
This is something that I will continue to pray about. It’s very difficult to let go of that “Live for today–get what you want now!” mentality so prevalent in our culture. Equally tempting is the “You’d better sock away everything you can into an IRA/401(k) so you can be a millionaire when you retire” advice. I think that the more I remember that the money and possessions that come into my life do not actually belong to me, but rather are given by God for me to manage here on Earth, the easier it will be to live a more generous life.