In the debate over Christian social action, Sider and Schneider are both helpful but ultimately unsatisfying. Sider appears to be demanding more than Scripture itself, and his teaching borders on legalism. On the other hand, most believers in the Western world already enjoy their earthly acquisitions quite enough, thank you. They don’t need more encouragement from John Schneider.
Is there a sensible biblical balance? It’s possible, but only if Christians recover the lost grace of godly self-denial. In practical terms, this means every family disciplining themselves to a household budget that carefully plans the expenditure of income. Few things clear the senses like seeing finances in black and white. It shows where one’s treasure resides. An organized budget also helps one be mindful that it is a privilege to live where believers can not only “earn their own living” (2 Thess. 3:12) and pay “taxes to whom taxes are owed” (Rom. 13:7) but have enough left over to meet the needs of others. Families can pray for guidance about where their money would best be spent, whether locally or around the world. Many factors can play into the decision, but this much is certain: budgetary outlays should evidence the pinch of self-denial. After all, how much is spent by Christians on items that will inevitably be called by their proper name—frivolous junk?
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
The Grace of Godly Self-Denial
From an article at Kairos Journal on what Christians should do to share more with those in need (What Should Christians Do about the “Have-nots?”):