Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"How can I justify..."

I was reading some old Frances Chan blog posts and came across a YouTube video of Chan's wife in a Uganda orphanage. She was holding an abandoned baby in the brief 30 second clip. Below the video, Chan wrote this:

Why is my life more valuable than this baby's? Someone asked me recently why I don't save money for emergencies, or retirement. My answer was, how can I justify saving for myself "just in case" something happens to me when something IS happening to so many already. 29,000 kids will die today of preventable causes. If I'm to love my neighbor AS myself, why spend so much time worrying about me?

This is a drastically different mindset from everything I'm accustomed to learning and a terrifying thought for me. To actually do what Chan's doing (to live literally from paycheck to paycheck) takes real, solid faith, but it's amazing to consider how that step of faith strengthens that very same faith further.

Along the same lines, I read the following in an article on Chan. It encouraged me, so maybe it will do the same for you.

Despite what is clearly a flourishing ministry, Chan remains an anomaly. He lives in a tract house in one of Simi Valley's down-and-out suburbs with his wife and four children. He rides a 1995 Honda Elite scooter to work. An avid surfer, he emits a laid-back Californian coolness.

According to one comment he made in a sermon, Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income (though his church administrator preferred the phrase "most of his income"). Chan doesn't take a salary from his church, and his book royalties, which total about $500,000, mostly go to organizations like International Justice Mission.

Proverbs 30:7-9

7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

I have never prayed for God to give me "neither poverty nor riches," yet there it is as plain as day. Rather, I find myself chasing retirement like everyone else around me.

With regards to the same issue, John Piper said this in Don't Waste Your Life:

Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life. (Don't Waste Your Life, 45-46)



  1. Powerful, thought provoking. And I do hope you get this boy home for Christmas!

  2. Love that thought of living for Christ soo fully that you Don't waste time worrying about money!!!! And STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!