Selfishly giving away everything you own

ford-aspireI owned a 5 speed manual transmission red 1989 Ford Aspire just like the one in the picture.  It had 60,000 miles on it when I bought it in the late 1990’s, and it got 40 miles per gallon.  I paid $900 for it and to this day, it is my favorite car I ever owned (granted, I’ve never owned a Mercedes, Audi, or BMW.)  I drove it for over 10 years until I lost a cylinder and the smoke billowing from the exhaust became unbearable.  I sold it to someone for $300, who fixed it up and drove it for quite a while themselves.  And as strange as this sounds – that car had become a sin for me.  I needed to sell it, rather than fix it myself and continue to drive it.  The sin was pride.  While other pastors had car payments and nice cars, in my own mind I was a better steward of my money than they were.  In my own mind I was a martyr driving around in a 20 year old car with over 200,000 miles on it.  I needed to get rid of it for the sake of my walk with Jesus.

That car is on my mind this morning as I read a devotion from Bonhoeffer.  Bonhoeffer said that sometimes when people do something like give away everything they own, or sell everything and give it to the poor, that they do it not because Jesus wants them to, but because they want to themselves.  They do it to prove something or to affirm themselves as a better Christian than someone else.  Sometimes Jesus calls people to sacrifice everything – to sell everything they own and live in poverty, perhaps in another country.  But sometimes people do it to please themselves and it wasn’t God’s call on their lives at all.  Do I blog to be obedient or is it just being prideful?  Do I go on mission trips to be obedient or just to make myself feel good?

And that’s the difficulty of obedience.  Even in the things that appear to be holy and even sacrificial, we have to figure out if we’re doing these things because Jesus wants us to or because we want to.





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