Month: October 2015
I’m just coming off of a contemplative minister’s retreat with Randy Harris and about a dozen fine ministers. Wow! This was a refreshing, fulfilling, enlightening, and stretching retreat. I have been blessed by all of these folks. Of course, if you’ve ever spent time with Randy Harris, you know that when he speaks, you should listen. Everything he says is “tweetable”. I frantically took notes as he spoke, and I’m processing those now. I thought I’d share with you some of the one-liners from Randy that really stuck out to me. Hope it blesses you as it has me.
“Doing small things year after year is how the kingdom of God comes.”
“Some people are born on third base and think they hit a triple.”
“Academics are the easiest to seduce. Preachers next. Contemplatives are the hardest because it’s you and God, and you always are a loser in that one.”
“We want the Jesus rhythm. He’s with people, he’s alone. You don’t want to trust a minister who can’t be alone, or one who can’t be with people.”
“Try putting God on your schedule and see what is important enough to knock him off of the schedule.”
“The mind is like a child. Take away its toys and it goes nuts.”
“Preachers are a weird combination of arrogance, narcissism, and insecurity.”
“Distraction is the number one detriment to our spiritual lives. There is no close second worth even considering.”
Thank you Randy and others for making this retreat a possibility. I have been blessed beyond words.
“Give it and it will come back to you.” I have grown to not like that statement. “But Ryan, Jesus said it!” I know, and I appreciate that. Before you label me heretic, let me explain.
I’ve been doing some studying on generosity and why God calls his people to be giving people. I came across something interesting in Christianity Today that I wanted to share with you. They shared some research that showed that those who give generously are doing better financially than non-generous people. Here is a quote from the article:
“Moreover, it appears that generous givers are better off financially than their non-tithing counterparts. Nearly 1 in 3 Christian tithes reports being debt free, and the vast majority (8 in 10) have no outstanding credit card bills, compared to 13 percent and 60 percent of non-tithers, respectively.”
Those are interesting stats, and I believe them. Here’s the thing though, I don’t think this is “prosperity gospel lite”. In other words, there may be some folks who see those stats and say, “Aha! I was right! If you give, it will come back to you financially. Give money to God, and he is going to give you money back in return. You’ll have a better job, you’ll get a raise, and all sorts of good things will happen to you financially!” Now, I know there are times this seems to be true, and I don’t deny it. I know people with incredible stories about how they gave what they didn’t have, and miraculously they received when they needed it most. However, I also know that is often not the case. Hence the reason I tire of people throwing Jesus’ statement around like they do. So what about these stats?
Here’s my thinking, regular tithers are learning that bringing your tithe to God is a spiritual discipline that is shaping their view of money and resources. Maybe by being a regular tithe giver, these folks are actively battling materialism and greed, and therefore they tend not to spend beyond their means, and therefore they tend to be better off financially. By practicing the grace and discipline of regular giving, God is growing in them generous and sharing hearts, and maybe they are wasting less money on themselves and learning to be content with what they have.
So, if you’re like me, you don’t buy into the “give your 10% and watch how God gives you money back” idea. But, I would say that by giving something regularly, you’re learning a more gospeled approach to your finances, and it is going to look like you have more money when you quit worrying about spending so much on yourself.