Finality & Rob Bell

I’m pretty pensive right now so if you are looking for a good laugh, visit awkwardfamilyphotos.com instead. If you want to struggle through holiness more with me, continue on..

I spent probably an hour last night reading all the facebook wall posts of Aaron Fry and Bryce Hilgenkamp. Both young college aged men that died way before their time. I actually read Aaron’s wall frequently because he is normally at the top of my friend’s list. What is fascinating to me is what an impact death can have on life. Both guys were very cool people, so life-altering that people write on their wall consistently. It’s been almost 2 years since both have died and while it is very sad that their lives were cut short, most people move on over time. They treat the relationship as if Bryce and Aaron just moved away and haven’t visited yet. It gets weird though when you look at their facebook to see the same profile picture, the same information, the same everything. It’s a visual picture of their last moments on earth and it is is bizarre. The memorial-on-facebook-wall is really sad. You see all the hurt and pain people are still going through. You read comments that you feel like are private between best friends but there is no other venue for those friends to cope and speak to their friends…cell phones have been cut off, graveyards are creepy. I dare you to read it sometime. It’s really morbid but very thought-provoking…it makes you wonder how your life would be frozen for the world to see.

On another less depressing note, I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s book about Jesus wanting to save Christians. The back of the book has a summary where it says:

“There is a church in our area that recently added an addition to their building which cost more than $20 million. Our local newspaper ran a front page story not too long ago revealing that one in five people in our city lives in poverty.

This book is about those two numbers. … It’s about what it means to be part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.”

That alone will give you enough to think about but the whole book makes you evaluate your life. God wants us to be happy for sure but how often do we use that as an excuse to live lavishly and where is the line drawn? Is it ok to pay a fortune for nice apartments while someone down the street can’t even find a place to sleep? Is it ok to spend $50 every week getting manicures and pediures while some people in our city can’t find $50 a week to eat?

Where do we draw the line? Or maybe there isn’t a line. Look at Mother T…she had sick nasty feet because she wore whatever shoes she could find. I read the book Irresistable Revolution a couple years back and while it was good, it bothered me. Shane Claiborne kind of ragged on having good jobs and being wealthy while talking about being invited into peoples homes for dinner. Where do you think the money for that meal came from?

I absolutely think that some people are gifted with making money while others are made for a life of urban ministry. The money-makers are the people that support your missions and fund your efforts. I don’t believe, however, that it is either or. It’s not “Oh I was gifted with making money and running my own company therefore I’ll drive a Hummer while I give part of my money away”. What’s the answer though? Being a missionary in the corporate world doesn’t give you an excuse to buy million dollar mansions. Many times we’ll say, “well we bought this giant house to have gatherings”.. Isn’t that abusing your wealth? At the same time, giving every single dime away and resorting to a life of poverty doesn’t help anyone either, it just makes things worse and makes you that much more dependent on the money-maker. Where is the balance?

I really don’t know the answer. I just know it bothers me a lot. I don’t want to make excuses for my excessive spending. I don’t want to label my materialism as something I will use to help those in need. I want to help those in need financially while living a modest lifestyle. My prayer is to learn how to balance the two. Any ideas?

2 thoughts on “Finality & Rob Bell

  1. Brandon & Kelly

    Sarah! I’m so glad I found you blog! Now we can be blog friends too!

    In answer to your question, I think that when the time comes and you have that kind of money, it’s not completely about WHAT you do with it, it’s HOW you go about doing things. There are plenty of people who have tons of money but don’t live exorbitantly, they live in a decent sized house, drive cars that aren’t brand new, but give so much. When I say give, I mean financially, but also with their time. They work with teens, they help out at soup kitchens on a regular basis, but the best part is they are bringing their kids along and doing it with them. I think when we have kids the hardest thing for me will be overcoming the desire to give my kids everything I can. I know I wont just give them anything, but as a parent that has to be difficult. I don’t think it is a bad thing to want to work hard and reward yourself or your family with nice things, after all, God gifted you with making money, but are you giving regularly and even more in time of need? When those nice things (or social status) are your only motivation for money, then obviously something is wrong.

    I totally just rambled here.. so take that for what you will. I miss you, and try to keep my father-in-law in line! Ha! But really, we need to get together before you guys move.

     
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  2. Daniel

    Sarah,
    I struggle with the answer to this question all the time. I mean if we do what it says in the Bible, then we should sell all of our goods and give it to the poor. The problem with that is that then the poor people will be the rich people, and they’ll just have to turn around and give it right back to us (the now poor people). I know that’s being facetious, but it’s just confusing to me.
    Right now, between Katie’s salary and mine, we’re saving almost 40% of it a month. I look at myself and think “Man, look how good we’re doing” but then I turn around and wonder if we should just be doing something for God’s kingdom with that money. It’s so confusing to me, and I wish God would just tell us what to do. Well if you figure out the right answer, let me be the first one you tell.

     
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