The Dangerous Duty of Delight, chapter 8 (part 2)

What does it mean for Money?

If you've not yet been able to get a copy of the book (eBook available here for $7), then you can read chapter 8 here. 

Piper concludes chapter 8 by suggesting the Christian adopt a war-time view of money. For those who have lived through wars, this analogy resonates deeply. During time of war, many material sacrifices are made for the ‘war effort’. Self-interest is set aside for the shared purpose and common good: defending the enemy aggression. Wealth and resources are gladly given over to protect the nation. Money per se is not despised, but it is valued according to what it can achieve in terms of the war. On the other hand, money that is held back from the war effort could be viewed as a betrayal of fellow-citizens and soldiers.

This Christian attitude towards money and wealth sits somewhat comfortably with us while ever it remains an analogy. But Piper’s point is no illustrative comparison. The Christian really is ‘at war’. He writes:

“Life is war. The casualties are millions, and the stakes are eternal. What we need today is not a call to simplicity, but a call to war. We need to think in terms of a ‘wartime lifestyle’ rather than a ‘simple lifestyle’… Life is war. All talk of a Christian’s right to live luxuriously “as a child of the King” in this atmosphere sounds hollow—especially since the King Himself stripped for battle.”

The reality of the spiritual war in which we find ourselves brings Jesus’ own teaching on wealth into sharper focus:

32  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32-34)

For your prayerful consideration:

  1. Where might your next-door neighbour think that your treasure is?
  2. If you wanted to re-invest your wealth into an ‘investment’ that paid dividends in eternity, what would you do?
  3. What will you do?

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