In society—now more than ever—we seem incapable of uniting around anything other than affinity groups. Where in our society is there a group that transcends differences of gender, class, or race?
Paul had seconded his story to a grander story that he was sure would end in victory and one in which no sacrifice was wasted. Paul could look at his tragedy and say, “That’s OK. It ends in triumph! The suffering was worth it.” Don’t you want to live in a way that you can say that?
Talking about money in the church is awkward because it often feels like self-serving. Of course the pastor is going to tell his people to give more money; it’s where he gets his paycheck! But I think there’s another reason we find money-talk in church so awkward.
The church has one mission. We all have a role in that mission. Whatever spiritual gifts and abilities you have, you are supposed to interpret them in light of the bigger picture of God’s purposes stated in his Word—to get the gospel to the ends of the earth.
My youth pastor growing up encouraged us to offer our lives as “blank checks” to God. When you gave someone a blank check, you signed your name at the bottom, pre-approving whatever amount they wrote in later. Essentially, what Jesus asks from us is that we give our lives like a blank check to him. We put our “yes" on the table, so to speak, before he even asks the question.
Are you a saver or a spender? Both kinds of people look to money to provide something absolutely essential for life. Spenders depend on money to maximize enjoyment in the moment. Savers, by contrast, think that money’s greatest value is providing security for tomorrow, and so they focus on increased wealth accumulation over time.