Oswald Chambers was a noted protestant minister in Scotland. He also served as a chaplain during WWI and died in Egypt from appendicitis at the age of 33. But though his life was short, he had an ability to express profound truth with an economy of words. His writings continue to have a great impact yet today.
One of his quotes has stayed in my mind since I first read it several years ago. It was about money. He wrote, “Money is one of the touchstones in our Lord’s teaching. Nowadays we are taken up with our ideas of economy and thrift, and never see that those ideas are not God’s ideas.” (The Place of Help, 1028)
Chambers begins with the obvious – money is important. Jesus spent a great deal of time helping his followers to see that their relationship with money indicated a great deal about their relationship to God. You cannot serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24). You have to decide where your loyalties lie.
The next question is what Jesus taught about money. And this is where (according to Chambers) we miss the boat. For many believers today, a great deal of time is spent considering how they can spend as little as possible and save as much as possible. But is this really what Jesus taught?
It seems to me that Jesus applauded those who distributed/spent money in generous and radical ways. The losers in God’s economy are those who bury their resources or simply accumulate to build bigger barns. The goal is not to spend as little as possible. The goal is not to buy the cheapest product available. The goal is not to get by in some shoddy fashion. The goal is to freely and generously allocate our resources for the greatest impact for God’s kingdom.
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