People in todays society want the best, the absolute best for themselves… even if they can’t afford it, they typically find a way (credit cards). The largest expenses that I think we will have are things like a house and a car. Now for the more notable expenses, we have things like education and retirement.
The other day I pulled into my parking spot at work, and as I was sitting there in my car I saw this gentleman glance my way. Now him looking over wasn’t the big deal, but it did get my mind turning. I thought, “would this guy or anyone else have a different opinion about me, from a spiritual perspective, if I was in a nicer car?” Like it or not, the people around us are watching, they are looking and observing everything that we as “Christians” do. How would me having a nicer car, a nicer/bigger home, the latest gadget and gizmo… how would those things affect how people see me?
Before you get critical of what I’m saying, hear me out. The two ideas that came to me from the Bible revolve around 1) giving to and caring for those in need and also 2) living a life that resembles that of Christ.
1) Giving and Caring for Others
What does the Bible say about this subject? In everything I (Paul) did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 Jesus Himself said that it is more of a blessing to give than receive… does that define us? Typically our giving is in the form of selfish things.
Jesus gives a lesson in Luke talking about Him providing and taking care of the disciples. How the animals don’t worry about where to stay and what to eat because God provides for them, and then He goes on to say “how much more does the Father love you than the animals.” He finishes up with this, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor…” Luke 12:33a This is who Jesus was and is, He is a giver, a provider, He looks out for the poor and helpless.
If you’ve every heard of Dave Ramsey, you know about his financial “baby steps.” There are seven steps that he has in his journey to “financial peace,” and the seventh step is “build wealth and give.” One thing that he said that still sticks with me is something along these lines. He said, wouldn’t it be nice if, we as Christians, could put the government out of a job. If instead of the government providing people with financial assistance and benefits, we as Christians could be there for them. What kind of impact and message with that say about us if we were to truly give like Christ wants us to give.
2) Living Like Christ
I’m always taken back to the send off that Christ gave the disciples in Matthew 10. “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. Matthew 10:9-11 Jesus told the disciples to trust and depend on Him… Don’t plan it out, don’t prepare, just go and I (Jesus) will give to you what you need.
There was another instance when Jesus was healing and preaching, then He had a “come to Jesus meeting” with those who were following Him. He is laying out the cost of what following Him really looks like. When Jesus saw the crowd around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to Him and said, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Another disciple said to Him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:18-22 Now this doesn’t mean that we should all go out and sell our houses, that’s not what He is saying at all. Because if you recall back in the Matthew, the disciples were instructed to stay somewhere… in a house. But what Jesus is getting at is total dependence on Him, not putting so much care and concern in the here and now and on things that potentially don’t matter.
Million dollar question… do you think it’s bad for a follower of Christ to have nice things, such as a house, a car, a nice phone, etc.?
So again, what is going through the mind of the unbeliever? If they see us in that house that is more than big enough for our family? They see us driving that six figure car? Are they going to think that we care about the world and people when we’re wasting money on things like that? Things that don’t matter? If Jesus was here right now, what kind of car would He be driving? What kind of house would He be living in? Remember from early, Jesus said that “He has no place to lay His head…” Living a life that resembles Christ cost us… the Bible tells us that numerous times so it shouldn’t come as some surprise.