Friday, May 2, 2008

Stimulus and Pleasure

It was one of the biggest news stories in recent weeks. It brought people together and was a topic that I bring up to my friends, teachers, bus drivers, or anyone who can carry on a conversation. To prove this is a popular topic I decided to enter in the search terms in google. I was surprised that the results yielded over twenty million items. Could it be the presidential election? The rise and fall of Arizona sports teams? The latest celebrity meltdown? Upcoming movies for the summer?

It was actually a piece of paper called the "Economic Stimulus." In the words of our government leaders, in order to boost our economy, checks will be sent out to over "one hundred thirty million" Americans. This might seem like a grand idea, as one person put it, "free money never caused any harm." However, as with anything that the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve get their sinful fingers on, there are consequences to our actions, be it good or bad.

Now, I'm not a wise sage of wisdom and knowledge. I'm twenty-two, I rent a house, go to college, ride the city bus frequently, and I chose not to wear shoes when I can. So my wisdom is limited but I think there could be something to be said about this opportunity to shine the light of Christ to our dark world. We are always searching for the latest and greatest to fulfill our needs. If you watch television or read the newspaper, we cannot escape the allure of ads. They are enticing us to buy more and more, as if these items will fill a void of happiness that is inside of everyone.

However, I along with everyone else on this earth must realize that our possessions do not secure eternal happiness, they might provide temporary pleasure but it will not give us lasting joy and peace. Our Fords will eventually rust away, our Ipods will no longer play, our toaster oven won't toast forever, but there is One that will not rust, break or lose it's value over time. He gave us everlasting love, peace, joy, hope through His shed blood on our behalf. He has purchased us from the slavery of sin and death, and now we are not looked as slaves but instead we are co-heirs to His Kingdom that is coming.

It might seem simple, but when our check arrives in the mail or deposited in our checking account, which master will we serve? I think John Piper put it best when he said the following in his article about the stimulus:

"..Nobody in the world will see you spend your money on yourself and conclude that Christ is your treasure. They will assume you are just like them, no matter how loudly you thank God for this boon. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend it on yourself (the way we do with most of what we earn). Not everything we do can look different from the world—eat, pay utilities, fill up the car, wear clothes (even thrift-store clothes). And yes, we hope (somehow) that spending on ourselves in some way contributes to our being more Christ-exalting people." (

I realize that I might be preaching to myself through out this entire article, because I realize that the temptation to spend the check will be great, but what great assurance we find in the scriptures, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

So what are some ways we can use the money for His glory and not the Ipod Touch that has been our list for a long time? I think every person has a different conviction and situations that God has put inside of him or her, with that in mind my list of ways may not be applicable to where you are. As I right this, I am still contemplating what would be the best ways to serve Him. However, I think the first step is asking our Heavenly Father what He would have you to do with the money. When His Spirit is guiding you, then I think that He will bring more illumination than if you stare at your ceiling for endless hours. Once again, let us heed these wise words from Pastor Piper:

"The reason God created money and enabled us to earn it is so that we could show by the way we use it that money is not our treasure, Christ is. That’s why the checks are coming. So we can make Christ look great.

“Be content with what you have, for he has said,
‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)"

Please don't let this turn into a "look what I did" but instead, let this be a moment where we can see the movement of the Lion of Judah, our great King on the move! I look forward to seeing how His beloved seized this moment not for their gain but for His Glory Alone!


Coffee Snob said...

Sound advice from a twenty-two year old sage!

As one who nearly lost his house to a foreclosure several years ago (WAY before the current mortgage situation), and who received great grace from our heavenly Father and from the mortgage company (hard to believe, I know!), and who is now a volunteer coordinator for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, money is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.

Many of us will get an "incentive" check in the next few weeks. Rather than spending it all on our own selfish desires, I wonder how many of us will

1) tithe from it
2) contribute the bulk of it to further the work of God's Kingdom
3) save or invest a significant portion rather than spending it all (as our "wise" politicians would have us do).

Perhaps someone may even make a charitable contribution to the work of ACWI! ;~)

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