I have a problem with money. Always my spending-plans are bigger than my pockets will allow.
Not the big stuff – that gets a forensic analysis and review after review before even a penny is paid.
I am talking about the day-to-day – the little bit here and little bit there – the “we can afford to” …. “I deserve this” … “we can cover this” … drip-drip-drip spending (not planned at all).
AND I have a problem being told how I should spend, budget, save, rein-back, splash-out, be frugal, be generous. I think I have a reaction to being told how I should live and why. Because usually the “why” is someone else’s definition of me
fitting-in with them being a good person and not “wasting” (my) money but using (my) money “wisely”.
But what is “wise” and what is “waste”?
Which is why the article “9 Practical Ways To Increase Giving In Your Church” caught my eye. And why the strap-line made an impression: “Dan Reiland: The Pastor’s Coach – Developing Church Leaders”. But mainly because the whole thing stuck in my throat:
“For every leader, it requires artful and prayerful leadership to inspire a congregation to give.” And this: “Tithing is part of a believer’s spiritual journey.” And this: “Again, never communicate guilt, but remember the idea of giving started with God, not you.”
I got an itch deep down in my soul.
An itch of being told how to live my life IF I am good Christian …. IF I am to fulfil The Great Commission … IF I am to be an example of God on this earth. And as for that being scripturally correct … the bible will ALWAYS say whatever I want it to say.
So in reality I decide what “being a good Christian” is – and I decide what “fulfilling the Great Commission” involves – and all my choices are supported by my choice of what my bible (i.e. God) says.
My financial health goes in cycles. Sometimes I don’t have enough, sometimes I have just enough, sometimes I have a surplus and sometimes I have more than a surplus …
And then it cycles again.
What doesn’t “cycle” is me being a human being who can choose to love self, others and that great connector of all. I used to call that great connector “God”. It’s what I was taught,. But now I think it is simply love without condition.
And I prefer that.
That makes loving about me and my choices – me and my decisions – me and my loving without condition – in this moment and the next – always.
Without having to be “a good” anything (that someone else judges “good”). Because – it seems to me – that “judging” is what all of this is about: whether I am a good (enough) Christian. Because (really) good Christians tithe. Because God says so.
Just like God says love everybody (but we like to redefine that). Like God says love everybody (but we like to add the sin-scale). Like God says love everybody (but we measure that by “stuff”). Like God says (but we don’t like to) …
Love Is Without Condition
Because where there are conditions there is not love. So sometimes love means money, and sometimes not … sometimes love means “stuff support”, and sometimes not.
But making tithing another “God says” rule …
For me that IMMEDIATELY makes my “love” conditional. And – for me – that is not love. And nor is that the loving God (in this increasingly simple bible) I have come to love. A simplicity that is this: