“You Don’t Talk about Money”

René Malgo

A missionary once answered the question of how much Christians should actually spend: “Don’t ask, how much of my wealth do I have to hand over, but rather, how much of what belongs to God do I dare keep for myself?” Such a radical shift in perspective can offend us. “Typical missionary,” some think, “just trying to get us to open our wallets.” I can tell you that this missionary lives modestly, that his house is always open to visitors, and that he is always out and about, tirelessly proclaiming the gospel. But that’s not the point.

The crux is our heart. What is our true inner relationship with what we own and spend? Are we aware that all our life and money belongs to God? We modern Christians don’t like to talk about possessions, probably because we have too many of them.

You don’t talk about money? In our affluent society, this rule is likely a good protective measure for ourselves. But our Lord Jesus sees it differently. In the Gospels, He almost speaks more about money and mammon than about heaven and hell! Talking about money seems profane to us, but our Lord, God, and Savior knows better (Matt 6:24). No one here on earth has ever been, nor is now, so eternally aligned as Christ Himself. And that is precisely why He spoke so often of money and possessions: because He knows our hearts only too well and sees exactly how easily earthly goods ensnare us and keep us from the eternal (Matt 13:22). Because of our egotistical inclinations, our relationship to material possessions is directly related to eternity (Prov 11:28, Ecc 5:10, Hab 2:5, 1 Tim 6:17-19). Whoever sets his heart on earthly and transient treasures, is simply and heartrendingly closed off to heavenly and immortal riches (Luke 12:34).

And because this is true, we do not shy away from publishing provocative statements in our magazine. We sharply denounce the self-love and greed of man and unequivocally call for a new mindset. This may put pressure on our weak spots, by questioning the state of our hearts and our personal priorities.

Why are we doing this? Do we get a kick out of spoiling your beautiful life? No. There are three reasons why it is good to address these inconvenient truths:

First, because we really live in the end times (cf. 2 Tim 3:1-9). Arno Froese once pointed out that many complain that things are getting worse and worse in the world. But in truth, however, the opposite is the case: many things are getting better and better (cf. Matt 24:37ff., Luke 17:26ff.). And therein lies the seduction of the end times. We need a shock to wake us up from our (un)blissful, comforting slumber in the sea of material well-being.

Second, because all the silver and gold in the world cannot satisfy us. We can only soar like eagles and rise to new heights of true bliss, when we live our lives as our Creator and God intended. Only that makes us creatures, created in His image, truly happy (Phil 4:4-9).

Third, because Jesus is coming soon. If He was already near at the time of the apostles (Rev 1:3), how much more so now! The person whose happiness is not dependent on earthly goods, and who sets proper priorities, is also ready if the Lord is standing at the door today. And then we can and will rejoice with unspeakable joy (1 Pet 1:8).

With this in mind: Maranatha—our Lord, come!

Midnight Call - 03/2018

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