About a week or so ago, I was talking to a friend about Christian leadership. There’s a particular area in her life where she’s struggled tremendously. She’s been challenged spiritually, physically, mentally and financially.
It’s been my experience that such battles will either bring you closer to God or leave you questioning whether he even exists. At times, it seems like it’s easier to back down than press forward. My friend has chosen to fight, and I commend her for doing so.
Since the beginning of our relationship, my friend and I have engaged in deep, and often heated, discussions about religion. It was inevitable. She’s religious. I’m not. Strange enough, we both enjoy playing the role of devil’s advocate.
Lately, in addition to attending church on a regular basis, my friend has also been getting The Word from some of the television ministries. Our voyage to a debate began here. She made a comment that she has a hard time receiving the teachings of many televangelists because they’re too focused on money.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Hearing a pastor go on and on about how giving to the church will cause me to metamorphose into a millionaire turns my stomach too.
What I took issue with was my friend’s disdain for mega church leaders’ consumption with consumption. According to her, they shouldn’t waste so much money on frivolous purchases. There are people who are really suffering. Financially wealthy pastors should give more to the needy for God’s sake.
To that line of judgmental reasoning, I said “be careful.” Then I asked, “How much did you give to the poor when you had money? How much money did you waste?”
The concern shouldn’t be with what someone else could do.
What could you have done?
What have you done?
What will you do?
If you see an unfilled need, then you fill it.
Sometimes it seems like you’re worse off financially than you actually are because you’re comparing yourself to someone who’s so much better off (or at least appear to be). You have more than you think.
You’ll feel like you have more money if you compare yourself to someone who has so much less. Better yet, try envisioning what life would be like if you didn’t have access to even the most basic necessities: food, electricity, clean drinking water, internet. It’s all relative.
My friend tried to justify her wasteful spending by saying it went to pay for things like eating out. You know because food is a necessity. I eat out too, but I’m absolutely sure my survival isn’t contingent upon me spending at least $761 on food and alcohol every month. One could live on less.
It’s true. No one needs a Bentley, but no one needs cable either. Many couples don’t need two cars. You don’t need manicures, pedicures, massages. What else? Oh, you don’t need a television, a Kindle, or a Nintendo Wii. The non-necessities are countless.
All the money you spend on those little luxuries could be given up to help the less fortunate. Do I think you should sacrifice all you enjoy for someone else? You do whatever you want. I won’t judge you for treating yourself.
What I was trying to make my friend see is that the big spending pastors aren’t the only ones dealing in abundance. At one point, she had a considerable sum of excess cash. Regrettably, she took her good fortune for granted.
Take a moment to reflect on all that you have. All that money can buy and all that it can’t.
Never mind that I’ve made a private conversation public, do you agree or disagree with my position? Why so?