I don’t think I can say it any better than David Platt does, so I’m just going to use his metaphor: If we’re going to call Jesus “Lord,” He demands that we give Him a “blank check” of our lives.
This means that in all things, Jesus decides. Jesus, not we, decides where we live, what job we have, what car we drive (if any), what kind of house we live in, how much money we make, what level of insurance we can afford, how much (if any) money goes into our child’s college fund, retirement fund, etc.
But this is a very difficult truth to follow. What we often do is plan our lives ourselves and then try to fit Jesus in it somewhere. Perhaps we fit Him in by “tithing,” where we are responsible and even happy to give our 10%, but give no thought to God intruding on the other 90%. Or maybe we have a good job, so we relegate our purpose to being a good example on the job. It is quite plausible that we can justify virtually any investment decision (insurance, stocks, trust funds, college funds, etc.) by calling it good stewardship. After all, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Proverbs 13:22).
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that Christians should have no savings accounts, college funds, insurance, nice cars, houses etc. and that we are all required to sell all those things. All of these things are legitimate, but not if you have gained them by ignoring God’s calling for you. The American dream is not God’s plan for the Christian.
God’s plan for the Christian is for the Christian to fully depend on Him.
For this to happen, we must have a real relationship with Christ. Sadly, I believe many Christians, including me, are too preoccupied with self to have any clue what Christ is asking us to do. But when we learn to fully depend on Him, I can guarantee you He is going to ask more of us than we ever imagined.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t ask everyone to sell all they had, just that rich young guy? Zacchaeus got to keep some.
Or why did Jesus tell one man to let “the dead bury their own dead” and forsake his father’s burial, but then legitimize mourning by going and weeping at the grave of Lazarus?
I think it is because Jesus was hitting at the major idols in each individual’s life. He was smashing the thing they cared about most and telling them to leave it behind.
Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit convict you to give up something — money, time, emotion, career, etc. — but then resisted with excuses that sound something like: “If I start giving this much, I won’t have enough for ____, and that would be irresponsible.” Or, “If I help this person, I might miss _____ event that my child is involved in, and God would never ask me to do that.” Or, “If I change careers, I’ll lose my insurance/pension/standard of living, and I have a family to consider.”
Many pastors, perhaps in different ways, have labored long to make this point. I am just one of the thousands chiming in, but it is such a vital truth. Much more could be said, but this question basically sums up the problem: “Do you trust God?”
Jesus said that not even a sparrow falls from a nest without the Father knowing and caring. Jesus said that He came that we may have life more abundantly. Jesus also said that whoever finds his life shall lose it and whoever loses his life shall find it. Jesus said that whoever doesn’t hate his own father, mother, brother, sister and children is not worthy to be called His disciple. Jesus promised that the Father will take care of all our needs.
Do you believe all of that? Do you believe that God will take care of you even if your retirement fund is virtually non-existent. Do you believe He loves you if your car has two salvage titles and has to be bump-started? Do you believe you can be a responsible father if your house doesn’t have at least four bedrooms?
Tell me, what room is there to exercise faith in a life that “has it all figured out”?
As I said before, it might be that God does provide all these things and more. But material possessions are not the goal. Total obedience and dependence on God, is. And when you completely surrender to Him, you start experiencing real life that might exist in a tiny apartment or a mansion or in a tiny apartment that you chose instead of a mansion. Whose kingdom are you building, anyway?
Ultimately, like all aspects of the Christian life, the point is that Jesus is everything and all other things are rubbish compared to His will. Is He convicting you? Do you know Him well enough to even know what experiencing His guidance is like?
If so, and if you are resisting, please, just give in. The Christian life ought to look crazy to outsiders, and even if your fellow church members tell you it’s irresponsible, give in to Jesus’s calling for your life and learn what true riches really are.