In my last post I talked about the fact that God says that our money is actually his money. I want to expound on that idea a little tonight. This is the post I’ve looked the most forward to writing because it kicks my own ass just a little more than I’d like it to.
What if God is calling us to give not just our money, but also of ourselves? I believe that our Faith journey is intimately personal and that God works with each of us a little differently as he guides us to become the people he has called us to be. What if the challenge of Christianity isn’t so much about handing out tracts or leading others in the “sinner’s prayer”, but rather on making use the resources God has given you? What counts as resources? Honestly, pretty much anything you have that is uniquely you. Your talents, your skills, abilities, interests, hobbies, all of these things can have a purpose beyond keeping you entertained.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus spends a lot of time talking about the “Kingdom of God”. Some people believe that this is a reference to heaven, but in actuality, he’s talking about bringing a type of heaven to Earth. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that heaven is more than a cloud and a harp… I’ve got nothing but conjecture to back this up, but I think heaven may actually be a lot like Earth is today, only everything that’s there is… perfect. Made holy.
In the movie “Constantine”, there’s a part where Constantine goes to hell. In the novelization of the movie it goes into a little bit more detail than the movie is able to, but the author suggests that Heaven and Hell exist in the same physical space as Earth… If it exists here, it exists there. The difference is that in Hell, every creation is completely devoid of good. It is corrupted and impure. In Heaven, just the opposite is true. The painting you see exists in Heaven but is imbued with the breath and passion of God. Your favorite song exists in heaven as the purest expression of God-given emotion you can imagine.
I’m not saying that this is an accurate picture, but I think it might be a decent metaphor for the “Kingdom of God” Jesus spoke about… In Luke 17:20-21 Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is already in our midst. It’s here right now. If you think Earth is Heaven’s waiting room, you are sadly mistaken… Our missions, our duty as Christians is to shape the world around us to match Heaven as closely as possible.
We tithe because the money is God’s anyway. What if the same was true about our skills and abilities? They’re not ours; they were given to us with a specific reason, use, and purpose. Your talents are not accidents. Your hobbies were determined millennia before you were born. So what does that mean in practical application?
Get into culture. Watch TV and movies and if you want to write scripts. Learn about computers and use your knowledge to make people’s lives better. Get your hands dirty. Grow food and give it away. Sing songs that move people. Show people that they matter. Create experiences that make people think. When you sign up to follow Jesus, your life is no longer your own. I mean, it is, you still make decisions… But you become called to serve in all things. Give of yourself freely. Take control of the corner of the universe you’ve been given and shape it to match the perfection and wholeness (some might call it the “shalom”) God intended in the beginning.
I said at the beginning of this post that this idea had been knocking me sideways… It might be more accurate to say that this idea has been subtly eye opening. Lately I’ve been thinking about the groups of people I call myself a part of… My family, my friends, my neighbors, my church, my co-workers… The sadly trivialized addage of “What Would Jesus Do” goes beyond not sinning and trying to tell people about him… It’s about transforming the landscape of people’s lives. Opening their eyes to the greater truths that exist all around us. I’m finding the question that is becoming harder and harder for me to ignore is “What can I do to make life as they experience it, better?” I’m not sure I’ve got an answer for that yet, but I’m working on it. Maybe you should too?