Contentment

One verse that I have had on my mind lately from the letter to the Hebrews:
"Keep away from the love of money. Be content with what you have."

I find myself thinking about this subject frequently, so while eating lunch today, I listened to a message from Tim Keller, entitled "Hope and Money." He had several timely things to say, as I have been thinking lately about money and its role in the kingdom, and consequently, its effect on our lives.

Keller didn't mince words in this fairly short sermon, in which he spoke from 1 Timothy 6:6-19.

Keller challenged me on many levels, but here are a few nuggets to chew on:

-Money has power. It has power to blind you to how much you have! That's why Jesus said in Luke's Gospel, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Why would he say "Watch out!" for any other reason than the fact that we can easily be blind to it. He didn't say "Watch out!" about every kind of sin.

-Just as with drugs, there is a tolerance effect with money. We begin to think that our luxuries are necessities, and we are tricked once again by its power.

-When you see Christ as your treasure, you will finally be wealthy and content.

-Wherever you fall socioeconomically, be content with more simplicity. God wants his people to be involved in all spheres of society, but that doesn't mean we live the same materially.

-If you are in the Church, the older you are/the more money you make - the bigger difference there should be between you and your peers.

-In Christ, we can be content with what we have and forsake the pursuit of more, because:
1. Our Bad things will turn out for good
2. Our Good things cannot be taken from us
3. Our Best things are yet to come
(Jonathan Edwards)





Urban Farming and God

A fun story.

One of my supervisors, Nathan, who is also one of the elders in my house church, has been doing a lot of enthusiastic investigation into urban farming for our neighborhood here in Binghampton. The benefits would be copious: new jobs, fresh and locally grown produce, reduction of blight, an alternative to vacant lots in the neighborhood, a stronger connection to God's creation and an opportunity to teach kids about agriculture.

At CCDA in October, we were introduced to Will Allen and Growing Power in Minnesota. So, Nathan has been learning from him and another chap in nearby Arkansas. Because we are blessed to have the Binghampton Development Corporation in the neighborhood, their will be immediate access to necessary vacant lots. The initial construction of some hoop houses will afford the opportunity for a 365 day growing season here in Memphis. It will be fantastic!

Obviously, the one immediate hurdle is the initial capital necessary to get this show on the road. So, Nathan began investigating grants and keeping an open ear. He told me that he doesn't understand why he is doing this; it's not in his normal repertoire for ministry in the neighborhood. But, for some reason, he has felt strongly that God is doing something here and he doesn't want to ignore it.

Well, last week, a totally unrelated individual, we'll call him Ted, who is a local media executive, picked up the phone and gave Robert a phone call. He had an idea he wanted to chat with Robert about. Robert is the managing director at the Binghampton Development Corporation (see above). The man happens to be in Robert's church and knew that if there was anyone to talk to about his idea coming to fruition in inner city Memphis, it would be Robert.

His burning idea was that he had been following Will Allen and Growing Power and he really felt strongly about helping to develop something similar for the people of inner city Memphis. The problem was that he was just one man with a lot of money; he was disconnected from the personal and knowledge capital required to get this thing going. Robert told Ted that he knew just the person to talk to.

Ted meet Nathan. Nathan meet Ted.

Only God...