“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-45 (NKJV)
The following if from my husband’s blog, “No Grey Areas.” I felt it was worth repeating here.
I am not a monk nor am I given to a false rejection of the creature comforts which today’s technologies so readily provide. As Christians, however, we must examine our own hearts and behaviors, allowing the Lord to show us where we have been indulging our flesh and have subsequently crossed that line.
It is an easy line to cross.
Many objects and activities in our lives, which begin as incredible luxuries, with time, become absolutely essential to our “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” When we then begin to believe we actually deserve them and that they are necessary – we have crossed a dangerous line!
How do we apply wisdom, and set guidelines, to gauge our performance in this critical area? How do we determine what is necessary and what is luxury? God requires we become good stewards of the money which He entrusts to us. He also desires that we redeem our time.
A couple of years ago, I was teaching an Adult Sunday School Class on that ever-popular topic: Tithing for Today. During this class, we discussed the monies we spend so carelessly each day; monies which could have had a huge impact on the advancement of God’s Kingdom. As an example, we are supporters of an organization called Mission India. It costs Mission India about $1.00 to provide a child with a two-week Children’s Bible Club experience during the summer. While I am not advocating that we feel guilty about every dollar we spend, we need to be aware that even with an amount so small as a dollar, we are making a real choice.
My charge to that class was to take the “DOUBLE DOWN CHALLENGE.”
The premise of this challenge is very simple. It is easy for monthly financial obligations to grow until there is very little discretionary income remaining. Before you know it, there is nothing left to sow into the gospel. My challenge to that class was to make a personal commitment to sow into the gospel an amount which equaled what was spent on their own pleasures.
It goes like this: whenever you take on an additional monthly expense (a luxury, not a necessity), you sow that same amount into the gospel. If you can’t afford to sow that much “extra” money into God’s Kingdom, you can’t really afford the “extra” expense of something for your own pleasure.
For example, in our case, we used to spend $30 a month on cable television. Cable television was not essential to our life; it was a luxury. Therefore, we sent $30 a month to Mission India. (This would also work if you cut out a luxury and sowed the same amount of money into an organization which is committed to sharing the gospel). Mission India operates a literacy program throughout the nation of India. The cost of tuition for one person, for one year, is $30. This $30 teaches someone to read, write, and do basic math at a fifth grade level. A high percentage of these students become Christians and form the nucleus of a new church in their village. So, for our $30 a month, we sponsored (over the course of each year) twelve students who learned to read, seeing a number of them come to know Jesus Christ as Savior. We radically changed the lives of these twelve people because we sowed into this program.
This challenge seems like a simple way to make sure that, even when we are enjoying the rich blessings of God in our lives, we don’t lose sight of the real purpose for the generous provisions God places under our hand. We are to be about the work of advancing His Kingdom. We must be looking for every opportunity to increase what we sow into the gospel towards that end. We don’t have to start big. With a group like Mission India, even $1.00 can change a child’s life for all of eternity.
So, how about you? Are you willing to take the “Double Down Challenge?”
Someone’s eternity may well be resting on whether you are or not.
Copyright © 2012 by Charles L. Johnson
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