Wednesday, September 01, 2004

the inefficiency of god...

so, a thought has been swirling in my head the last month or so as we as a church community have been discussing giving and sabbath and how i dont think we are supposed to tithe to a church per se, but we should 'be generous with everything' and give our resources (ie. money) away... and some people say, 'well thats being a poor steward of your resources' or 'i cannot allow myself a sabbath, i have too much work to do'...

perhaps its me who says those things?...

so a huge virtue of americans (perhaps most westerers?) is efficiency... so much so that we understand christ as this ministry burnout who was doing it 'for the kingdom' so the burnout and frazzled life is worth it... so far do we value efficiency that we create 'gospel tracks' or deliver messages to thousands of students we have never (and will never) have a meaningful relationship with... short-circuiting the way god designed us to work/live/play together?... hmm...

< -- begin sarcasm -- >

so, sabbath is a ridiculous way to live here in america... right? i mean, who can set aside a sundown to sundown and devote it to bettering ones self, ones family, ones community... not by working, but by being... very inefficient...

or giving, i mean, could you imagine how much money you could save if you took your 'tithe money' and invested it into a medium-risk money market account?... how are we supposed to 'get ahead'?... what if i only make enough to 'survive'?... surely god doesnt expect me to be generous like the woman with the two mites, right?... i mean thats not me...

< -- terminate sarcasm -- >

i do not like giving money to churches... thats my thing... but i do like giving money away... and i do enjoy the idea of sabbath... we begin ours this friday... as a church community... committed to living life in the way of jesus... here we go...

perhaps god doesnt value efficiency the way we do... i mean, one problem with efficiency is that we begin to expect things to be efficient for us... wait, i think thats called impatience... hmm...

has efficiency cost us our relationships, our concepts of reality, our very lives?...

4 comments:

jda said...

great thoughts...i am excited to hear about the sabbath you guys are taking on friday, sounds awesome. and i totally agree with you, as americans we become so consumed with 'the american dream' that in our minds we cannot fathom resting for a day, to just be, because think of all the stuff that won't get done...i wonder how much more we could 'get done' if we started slowing down our entire lives...

planning on seeing you on sun...still cool??

Jeffrey said...

Ryan,
Love the post. This summer had me questioning the whole "tithe" deal. The Bible is very clear that we are to tithe to God. But then again, by giving to the poor are we not giving to God? By giving of our time and energy to helping people or just talking with someone who needs to talk, is that not tithing to God. The main problem I have with my own view is that people start doing it out of guilt. But they do that with money offerings too.. Way too long of a comment. PEACE

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

okay, a couple thoughts on these responses...

what if we dont get more done?... what if this actually keeps us from doing some of the things that we love doing?... i am just thinking out loud, cause it sounds a bit like we can have our cake (sabbath) and eat it too (do even more)?... perhaps its more like we can prioritize the 'important' things and lay the 'petty' things aside?... hmm...

here are some links to money and god... how after the temple was destroyed and the holy line of priests over (isnt it?) that there are no 'priests' in the way of the levites anymore... so, there is no tithe... there is no connection in making the tithe a chrisitian virtue... christ models living generously and giving his life and resources away... but not just to 'churches', ya know?... dont get me wrong, the parable of the woman and the twopence is a woman giving at temple, but it was a metaphor for the pharisees... they had no idea what was about to unfold in religious history...

anyways, the articles...

this guy is a nut, but he makes draws some interesting conclusions...some interesting thoughts from brian mclaren...another article on why people are not giving to their churches...perhaps we have a chance to actually divert money away from political-religious institutions and give it to those in need?... just thoughts...

Chris said...

I agree with you when you say that God does not really care for efficiency. If He did, then why would He send His people to wander in the wilderness for an entire generation? He did this not because He cares about the quickest way to get from point "A" to point "B." He cares about obedience. Giving away our resources and our time (Sabbath) are not efficient, but they are expressions of obedience.