How much more powerfully effective could the Church of Jesus Christ be in its gospel witness if, when every time a Christian got a raise in pay, he or she simply increased the percentage of income given away, instead of raising his or her standard of living?
God does not bless us financially so that we can live fat and happy in our cul-de-sac heavens. He is looking for slaves who are radically devoted to the propagation of the saving gospel message into every nook and cranny of the entire earth.
What we spend our money on reveals our true desires. When we spend our raises on feeding our own fleshly desires, we are displaying what and who it is that we truly care about. And it’s not God.
Instead of bowing down at the altar of self, like the rest of the fallen world, Christians are called to a radical lifestyle of self-sacrificial service, even to the point of pain and suffering if necessary.
Following is an example of a man who modeled such a gospel- and other-centered lifestyle for us…
An excerpt from Joe E. Trull and James E. Carter, Ministerial Ethics: Moral Formation for Church Leaders (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 76:
John Wesley’s rule of life was to save all he could and to give all he could. When he was at Oxford, Wesley had an income of 30 pounds a year. He lived on 28 pounds a year and gave away 2 pounds. As Wesley’s income increased to 60 pounds, 90 pounds, and 120 pounds annually, he still lived on 28 pounds and gave the balance away.