Additional "Philo$ophy" Articles


Published: 11/5/2013 6:42:45 PM


The abundance of choice we face in contemporary consumer culture can actually make us more miserable. Faced with too many options, our expectations become unrealistically high and our decisions can result in discontent and disillusionment. Take, for instance, picking something to watch on Netflix. If you’re like me, you can spend 30 minutes trying to decide what to watch, finally settle on something, and then wonder if you would have enjoyed watching something else more. Netflix and other online marketers realize this so they try to present a limited number of customized options that have been curated from our previous viewing habits. In a sense, Netflix (and other online retailers) limit our choices for us with the hope that we’ll consume rather than be paralyzed with the overabundance of choice.

Applying this to money, we daily make numerous choices with our finances…what to buy, where to buy it, what to save, what to give, the list goes on. Often times these financial decisions cause fear and worry. "If I tithe, then how can I pay my credit card bill?”
"If I spend this, then am I saving enough for later?”
"If I buy this, will it really bring me satisfaction or would something else bring more?”

I think this anxiety flows from a foundational worldview of scarcity. Money and resources are limited, so if I give something away there might not be enough left over for me. If I spend there might not be enough in my retirement account. If I save something I might be missing out on enjoying life now. Time is scarce. Money is scarce. Enjoyment is scarce… at least that seems to be how we operate, and in a sense that seems to be pretty true.

But God’s story seems to reveal a different narrative, that of abundance. There is no limit to God’s generosity. He abundantly loves, abundantly provides all that we need for this life, abundantly forgives. Everything we have is a gift from this abundant God. Tithing is not merely partitioning off a portion of our resources to give to God; it is an act of trust in God’s generosity and abundance. It is an act of trust that everything we have is his and everything we will need in the future he will provide. We can be generous, because we know the source of all that we have (God, whose love is without limit) chose us in Christ to join in an abundant life where fear and worry have no place. We make wise financial decisions because we want to be good stewards with our financial resources. These decisions can be made with the assurance that we’ll be taken care of by our abundant God through and in Jesus Christ.

Contributed by Jon Graf