I had a sale (in my awesome friend's garage) to rid my life of the first layer.

We gave the money here

and we bought these:

As I stood in front of a Goodwill drop-off donating my unsold stuff that cluttered my home [and heart], it was a surreal moment. I said, "I want to remember this feeling the next time I want to buy something I don't need."

I'm creating a new cycle.

I just read Radical by Pastor David Platt. It's a thought-provoking, turn-your-world-upside down kind of book and well, radical.

Or is it?

He proposes that God doesn't make us rich (*and if your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84% of the world. If your income is $50,000 or more, you make more than 99% of the world), so you can call yourself blessed and get a bigger house, better car and more stuff, you know live The American Dream. He proposes, based on Scripture, that God gives us more than we need, so we can use it to bless others.

But how many people really do that? How many people take just their daily bread and give the rest away? I personally know one.

I'd love to hear your thoughts either way.

*stats from Radical, 2010


Lara said...

I wholeheartedly agree with that quote! Why would a loving God make some people rich just so they could be "blessed" and allow their brothers and sisters to suffer? God gives us much because He expects much from us!

Blossom said...

I haven't read the book but have heard talk about it. I don't think it should be thought of as 'radical' to give of our surplus to those who have not enough. God's grace is sufficient for us...or it should be. I know that I personally do not live the way that I should...I commend you for doing all that you do and for inspiring those who happen upon your blog to do wonderful things, even if it's a little at a time.

Southerner said...

I know you are not doing this, but we need to be very careful not to judge people who do live in big homes and have things. I had a friend that lived in a very fancy 5000 sq ft home. Her husband is very gifted with an ability to make money. B/c of my close relationship with her I know that he was convicted to give an extra tithe (20%) to our church, then they give beyond that to our old music ministers ministry Heart of the Bride which has orphanages in many countries. They sold the home and made over $500 K. The whole time they were in it they said it was God's house and it was a tool they used to increase their wealth so they could do more. They then spent 3 yrs in Africa as missionaries. He laid the groundwork for more orphanages, and also used his skills at making money to gird up others there to support missions. They were able to go on the field without taking financial support. They are back in the states now, and have another really large fancy home, but continue to give very generously. But, most don't know how much b/c they don't shout it out, I only know b/c we are close. I have heard comments from people saying how they have all the fancy stuff and are rich and don't have problems. They judge what they see outwardly. I think this couple is a wonderful example of how when we sacrifice and give it all to God He doesn't alway call us to live more modestly- sometimes he really blesses us above and just pours out His blessings where we are able to continue to give more. Truely we can never outgive Him. They were willing to give it all and God knows that, so they have not been required to do so. They give it and God replaces it, and has miraculously put it before them where there was no doubt it was from Him. Their current house was not advertised on the market. They spent days looking and made a wrong turn and saw a sign in the yard. They called to abc123ABC@make an appointment. It had a big basement and he said it would be perfect for church stuff and the woman admitted she had been quiet about selling b/c she wanted it to go to someone who would use it for God.

Kristen said...

Hi Southerner,
This post isn't directed toward The Super Rich-it's directed towards Americans-people who make more than $33,000 are considered wealthy compared the the rest of the world.

And your friends sound amazing-they sound radical and that's exactly what I'm talking about.

Thanks for sharing their story. This isn't about big houses or big bank accounts, it's about giving.

Mainline Mom said...

I agree but I struggle with this. What does it mean to only take our daily bread and give the rest away? I've known quite a few people who were very wealthy but did wonderful, incredible things for God with their money. Is it unbiblical for me to plan for the future by saving for retirement or my kids' college education? (this is kind of rhetorical, but truly I wonder) Yes of course God will provide for our needs but does that mean we shouldn't plan? We give a lot, but I always feel we could give more. One of my spiritual gifts is hospitality and I sometimes try to justify the size of our house by saying we use it to host a lot of people, both gatherings and also overnight for those that need it occasionally. I do need to alter some of my thinking, and maybe I ought to read that book.

Erin Ramsey said...

Makes me think of Matthew 19:21 & 24 -Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 24- "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Why do we buy all this stuff that is just going to burn? We can't take it w/ us. It only satisfies us for a little while. It really just makes us want more. It separates us from the blessings and promises. We end up worshiping our stuff.

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

I totally agree that God only blesses us so that we can in turn bless others. Well put on your comment, Erin. Tonight in reading the first chapter of Job, I'm reminded of this idea again. Job lost EVERYTHING - family, resources, home, etc. And yet he STILL chose to praise God regardless (see Job 1:13-22 for some SERIOUS worship). Why do we hoard the stuff we hoard? Lately I have also been inspired to give away and minimize. It's hard...but it's a blessing to bless other in Jesus' name. God is so good to us. I could go on and on...thanks for posting on this!!

Alison @ Hospitality Haven

Loretta said...

While the thought behind the book is excellent, allow me to nitpick for a bit. It can be really interesting to look at the global rich list and think "Oh wow, look how rich we are compared to the rest of the world". And I think that is an important thing to note when we are comparing the resources we Americans use compared to the rest of the world. But not so much comparing salary to salary. It's one thing to say "Hey, you make $10,000, you are wealthier than 84% of the world." But the reality of someone making $10,000 here in America is probably not a whole lot different than someone making equal in another country. So in that way I disagree with the book.

As for the rest, however, I do believe that the more greatly we are blessed, the more we can bless others because it is a JOY to do so. But I think we need to be very careful of the attitude that the more we have the more we should give because that can easily lead to legalism when we start measuring just how much is excess and how much is necessary? Have we given away enough or should we give away more?

La Dolce Vita said...

Oh, how I agree, but struggle to follow through. We are beginning the process of releasing our obsession with stuff. My pantry and closets are overflowing. Why do we hoard so?

Have heard about Radical, and can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Yea for the shoes!

Tammy G. said...

To me radical is like the widow's mite . . . giving ALL to God expecting nothing in return. Of course, I don't think ALL always means money. Sometimes, we need to give our time, our love, our baked goods etc. :) Last night it was a comforting hug to a girl in our church who was grieving b/c her friend passed away. Thanks for the wonderful post.

Micayla said...

This is the person your post made me think of...I don't know her personally but what an example of giving up everything for the Kingdom:

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hey, Kristen, now you know what I sit under every single Sunday! It is quite uncomfortable at times to listen to our Pastor David, but there is so much truth in his words & we are grateful that he is not afraid to preach God's Word loudly & proclaim it to all the world.

But, I have to say it's not always easy to follow through with all of this. I know I have way too much "stuff" & am as guilty as the next at having fun playing house & living comfortably. I have stepped out of my comfort zone in the past year or so & am really working on giving more, not just financially, but with my time too. There are some wonderful needs close to home & some of those are where my heart lies too.

Blessings to you as you seek out what God has for you to do. I haven't read the book, but then again, I hear the message every week, so I am still letting it all sink into my soul's depths. :)

Micayla said...

Wow. Color me unobservant. Just noticed you already have her link on your page. ;)

Anonymous said...

Love this. We have a charity bin in our office closet where we collect those things to pass along to someone else. Less is always more.


Cascia said...

I heard about this on a recent television show. It kind of hits home for me. You see in the US we think that if you make $30,000 a year you are poor. But compared to the rest of the world you are wealthy. I know that I should give more to charity because that is what God teaches but it is so hard because we are a family of 6 and our income is below $30,000 a year. This was so eye opening for me and I think I need to pray harder about giving. I know that God will bless us if we give more.

Rachel said...

that book sounds amazing. We're learning to make due with less right now (we're going through FPU) and I've been cleaning/organizing our house a lot - so we've been donating a lot of things that we no longer love or need to Goodwill. It's such a good process for my son (3) to see, he is learning to give things away and not be sad about it.

Leigh Anne Watts said...

I feel, if you make money and have more than you need (and let's face it we all have more than we need) I think the best thing to do is help others.

However, to say that God blesses us with more than we need so we can help others doesn't seem fair. The reason being, if God blesses me with a lot of money and stuff, what about the person who has nothing? Did he purposely NOT bless them with even the necessities just so I could feel good giving to them or helping them?

I don't want to be taken the wrong way here. We have way more than just the necessities. And we help others, and we teach our children to help others. We teach them not to judge. And I'm not saying god doesn't bless anyone or that he is unfair for blessing only some.

I'm just saying it doesn't sound right that God would give some in abundance and others pretty much nothing at all.

km said...

I've been challenged with this too. Right now we're the recipient of gifts from our family and friends. We're going on month 8 of unemployment. I still feel rich. I'm learning in a very tangible way how families need to be blessed. I'm praying that God will bless us enough with a job so that we'll be able to bless others. My definition of how much we NEED to pay our bills has changed. I'm so thankful to be learning this lesson.

Alexia said...

I agree whole-heartledly. Ever since you started posting about your Compassion trip I have been looking at my life and my...stuff...and realizing I have way more than I need (and I make 10k a year, which most people in America consider pretty low).

I've been giving more than I would have thought I could afford to compassion, my church and missionaries and I have seen God bless me with enough to care for me and others. It's amazing.

And @Leigh Anne
I think we have to remember that we live in a fallen world. Our choices and the choices of our family members and others around us sometimes determine what kind of blessings we do or do not receive. I think that those of us who are in the position to be blessed with much are blessed with that so we can minister to those who are not. It is a great ministry and witness to those that do not know Jesus as well.

oh amanda said...

I totally agree. My pastor did a series called "How to Be Rich" focusing on the idea that as Americans we just ARE rich. And we need to figure out how to be that way---to be rich in a way that honors God. It was revolutionary.

Thanks for the reminder and the stats!
(Is it ok to say I'm proud of you for the garage sale and constant desire to do more?!)

Sparkz said...

I love the idea. I wish more people would live that way.

I enjoyed meeting you today at Chuy's and have also enjoyed reading your blog.

Your post on to adopt or not is really good. We thought about it for a long time before we made our decision-- because those thoughts are all so true. Many times we thought about the cost and thought about how many people we could help with the money. Still our loan was specifically for an adoption so we wouldn’t have had the money unless it was for an adoption.

After being in Ethiopia we have actually thought about going back and doing SOMETHING- Some kind of "soup kitchen" type establishment, something. We have looked into property but it seems as though you have to be Ethiopian to buy property there. We're still looking though. I know that sounds crazy but the memory of those living on the streets has never left my mind nor do I want it to. I just wish I knew exactly what to do to help the most. I loved our trip and the people. We sponsor a little boy through compassion from ET and it IS amazing what a few dollars a month can do. You are right by saying you can help a ton of kids so easily just through sponsorship.

Sparkz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimberly @ Raising Olives said...

Thank you for pointing this out and encouraging us all to think.

May each of us realize our wealth and give to those in need.

Anonymous said...

Our family has just begun this journey and it's so comforting and encouraging to see so many others waking up to realize we have more so we should be giving more!

I don't know how this will look years from now...but I'm starting where you away and not acquiring more. We live in a such a sick world where we can oodles of things cluttering our homes and yet families across the world are starving to death.

This is a scary process (the downsizing of our lives) but yet, I know beyond a doubt that Christ has called us to live simply so we can give extravagantly!

David Platt ROCKS!

Erica said...

Almost done with Radical. The book. I've been listening to David Platts sermons for awhile and the Lord has been working in our hearts to downsize our lives since our first adoption began in 2007. All for the KING!

Ginny said...

I'm curious. If you were to wake up in a world tomorrow that knew without a doubt there was no god ... Would you still be willing to help the less fortunate? Or are you all doing this to try & get into heaven? Every comment so far that I have read, seems that they are only doing this because they feel that is what god wants.

I also would love more info on the statistics on the being rich making $10,000 a year, etc. Was there a stated source in the actual book on this?

My comments are not meant to be mean, I'm just wondering on the motivation of this. Regardless of what it is, I think it is wonderful to help the less fortunate. I wish everyone felt this way from their own hearts. I think we would all live happier.

Tim said...

Ginny, The Bible is so much more than a book about how to be saved and go to Heaven. The way to know for sure that you are going to Heaven is by believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and accept His free gift of eternal life (John 3:16). The Old Testament shows us why we need a Savior and points us too Jesus. The Gospels tell us about Jesus and how to gain eternal life. The rest of the New Testament tell us how to live. Not live so we can go to Heaven, but live to have happiness in God. I don't give because I think it's what I need to do to go to Heaven, I give because it's right to give. It's good to give. It makes me happy to give.

Leigh Ann, God blesses us in many ways. To some He gives wonderful spouses and children, to some He gives gifts of talents or abilities, to others He gives wealth. He wants us to use whatever blessings He gives us for His glory. Just because someone is not wealthy does not mean that God has not blessed them. So many of us simply don't use the blessings that God has given us for His glory be it wealth or something else.

Tim @ Families Again

Hyperactive Lu said...

Awesome post!

Kristen said...

It makes me HAPPY to give, but you're right about one thing, I also do it because I believe God wants me to. I believe He is very real and loves you and me and the rich and the poor.
Yes, those stats are based on current data in the book.

Leigh Anne Watts said...

Tim, I think I either didn't explain my point good enough or you took it in a way I didn't intend. I don't think wealth has anything to do with being Blessed, on any end of the spectrum. The point I was trying to make is that to say God blesses us with NECESSITIES so we can help others who don't even have NECESSITIES is to say that God has made others suffer purposefully. I know he doesn't want people to suffer, no matter who they are. But I can't get on the boat with the fact that He would give some more than they need and others not even what they DO need just so that we can feel good about giving to them.

I really don't want to come across that I don't want people help or want to help people myself. I do, I REALLY do! I'm just not going to give God credit for their pain and suffering.

Anonymous said...

Wow! lot's of good comments. I am interested in many of those that move toward a position of how much is enough, how much is too much. After reading the book and listenting to the entire series several times, I keep coming back to the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31). If the poor are at our gate, how can we even consider asking if "this" is enough or "that" is too much. In the end, what we consider radical is very simply what God calls us to do. I don't think God ever uses the word Radical. Our Radical is his every day

Anonymous said...

I would have to respectfully disagree that it's ok to have a "very fancy", large house, even if you give away more than your "10%". Mother Teresa (an obvious example of generosity and serving God) said that "truest love is this: giving until it hurts". As Christians, we are called to love God and love one another. These are the two greatest commands. It doesn't sound to me like living in a "very fancy", large house (or any other example of luxury) is giving until it hurts. I'd say they need to give more. Think of how much more they could give if they lived in a regular sized house. I realize that there's no "line" to say what's too big and what's ok, but I think it's safe to say that if you're describing it as "very fancy and large" to begin with... that may be your first clue...

I'm not saying I'm perfect either, but that doesn't mean I can't say what I think is a right and wrong way to live (My little family and I are currently living as missionaries, on about half of our target support because we couldn't raise the full amount yet... we also give more than our "10%" because we believe that giving is that important).

Oh, and I'm not doing this to get into heaven either. I'm doing it because I believe it's right. For so many reasons, the primary one being that God commands it. I also have been designed with a sense of compassion that compels me to help my fellow human in need. There are many reasons to be generous... those happen to be mine.

mamaschwab said...

Oh I LOVED that! really got me having a sale to purchase new tennis shoes for people.

Thank you for not just doing it but also posting about it.
Often, I am find myself torn between doing things and telling people about me doing things but, you talked about it beautifully and said it wonderfully.

Thank you for doing that!
-Liza The Outspoken Mom