A Treasure

Posted: March 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

The following is an excerpt from a letter I recently wrote to Allison while she has been in Costa Rica. The subject matter is something very important to me and my hope is that others can benefit from it as well.

There is no doubt that what you are experiencing in costa rica is life changing. its cool that it is happening because you and i both expected it to be transformational before you started living there. you have been exposed to a lot of poverty and different view points concerning politics and justice. i have enjoyed the conversations we have had about all of that stuff and probably more than anything i enjoy seeing your thought processes develop.

However, what has been extremely interesting to me is that with all the potential placed on you learning new things, i have been overwhelmingly surprised that i have been learning very similar things as well. i do believe that you telling me these stories and stuff has had an impact on my thinking but i believe that there is more to it than that. I think that this time in my life (being independent financially and out in the real world) has been teaching me lessons about life and finances that I never thought it would. I think I was scared about how much it would cost me to live in the real world (hence my large savings account) and now I am seeing that its pretty easy. I would think that once I started making money and working and not going to school that I would be addicted to making more money like a vampire to blood (twilight, whaaaaaat!) that once I started bring home wads of cash from tips at chilis that my tendency for always being unsatisfied with my position would continue to play a heavy part on my views and lead me to want to make more money, to buy more things, to be able to impress more people.

However, just like you and I have talked about over skype there is this unreal push in me to live a thriftier lifestyle. It hasn’t been coming by way of conviction or “well I guess I should probably turn the air conditioner off for a bit to save money..” but it has surfaced with this attitude of “I want to help other people”. Being a waiter at chilis has shown me that I genuinely get a pleasurable sensation out of serving and helping others. Its crazy.

On top of that I just finished reading in Luke 18 about the rich young ruler. This guy asks Jesus the question, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus responds by listing off a few of the commands. Then the young guy says, “I’ve keep all of those since I was a child.” What a beast. but then Jesus adds this ridiculously crazy requirement for salvation by saying, “one thing you lack, sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven…”

So we understand this passage right? Its nothing new. I do believe there is a great amount of weight placed on Jesus saying that he must sell EVERYTHING and give the money to the poor. That’s not what the pastor told me when I walked down the aisle. So Jesus makes this comment about how this young ruler will have a reward or a treasure in heaven. Ok, but what about now, is there anything that following these commands does for us in life today. Or is all of it a kind of savings account for me when I get to heaven? A retirement fund of sorts? But then the magic happens later on in verse 30 when Jesus is talking about how there is no one who has left their families and homes and money who won’t receive many times more in eternal life but also, and here is that part that is crazy, in this time as well.

That is this a crazy promise there made by Jesus that says its worth it. There is pleasure to be found, life to be had, joy to be discovered in giving your entire life away. And I don’t mean that like a cliché shirt at youth camp. I think the things that you and I have been talking about are a start to something really meaningful. I feel like I can trust that verse about there being pleasure to be had because I feel it right now. Like I said earlier, I want to make a load of money so that I can give it some one who NEEDS it. Like really needs it. Like life or death stuff. That gives me pleasure, that makes me come alive. Its crazy man.

Anyways, so as I lay in bed I think about what that looks like and I had this crazy thought. Now I am not convinced about anything yet but it is just a thought. I wonder if my desire to have kids is idolatrous. I mean, what preacher is going to say it is a sin to have a child or 3? No one will say that. But with the motivations I’ve been having so far for the helpless in the world, having kids would require more money, time, energy- money, time, and energy that can be given to someone who really needs it. It’s a new thought for me so I am not making any crazy decisions right now, but when the time comes I want to be more willing to obey what I feel like God wants me to do then try fit the description of what people say is the life of an American Christian- having your faith defined by what you do or don’t do rather than by submitting yourself entirely to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even in the gray areas.

What I want to do now is make a budget. I have calculated fairly well how much I will need to spend each month. On top of that I have calculated about how much I will be making each day a chilis and have been scheduling myself the correct amount of times in order to meet this monthly spent amount. But if this substitute thing happens I hope that I can do that daily and the pay will be more. So my plan is to put about $200 into saving each month and give the rest away. So if I make a surplus of $500 then I want to give $300 away. Doesn’t that sound crazy? But here is my thought behind it. Money is deceitful because we NEVER have enough. So right now I can easily think “I should wait until I am married or atleast until I have a decent income before I start making these crazy decisions…” but the danger in that is once I start with that mindset it is dangerously hard to break yourself of it. So I want to start now. I have plenty of money in savings already so it seems like a flawless plan.

To pleasure, life and the joy to be found in the teachings of Christ.


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