October 20, 2016
Have you ever felt the tug of an invisible force? If so, you’re not crazy. Invisible forces are a part of our world. They exist outside of us and can influence our behavior.
There’s no reason to get “spiritual” about it—one such force is gravity.
Gravity, the physical attraction of one object to another, makes life possible. We rarely think about it, but how would your day go if gravity stopped working? Getting out of bed in the morning would be a snap, but everything after that? Problematical.
If you can imagine the laborious chore of brushing your teeth in space, you may realize the massive impact that gravity, though an invisible force, has on your daily routine.
Just as gravity exists in the world, financial gravity exists in the shared economic space where we live. Like Earth’s gravity, financial gravity enables us to function in our daily lives. If we didn’t need to earn money for necessities, our days would lack structure.
You are probably going to do at least one of three things today: go to work, visit the market, or make dinner. These are economic activities, shaped by financial gravity. How many of your relationships are formed by work or by sharing goods and sharing meals?
These benefits of financial gravity, like relationships, are important for Christians to remember. We tend to think that money is the root of all evil. But this is misunderstanding scripture. 1 Timothy 6:10 states that not money itself, but “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.”
Love is a strong emotion. Few people get emotional about physical gravity (although some of us enjoy jumping out of planes). We all, on the other hand, get emotional about financial gravity. The problem starts when you feel financial gravity with such intensity—love!— that it changes the way you live.
You know this intensity. You feel it when opening a bank statement or large credit card bill. Or when you shop like its a sport, availing yourself of the popular technique known as “retail therapy.” Society is built on manipulating your emotions and behavior through financial gravity. Advertising, coupons, restaurants and cinemas, shops selling the latest gadgets and luxuries—they reach out and have a hold on you. It’s a solid grip, too, because all of us have more than needs. We have wants.
For most of us, the list of wants is never short. And that’s when we’re caught!
Jesus told us that there are two places that we can store our treasures. We can structure our lives and our finances so that we enrich the kingdom of self, or so that we enrich the kingdom of God. Only one of these choices leads to real fulfillment.
This month at Galilee, prepare to RISE ABOVE!
RISE ABOVE, Galilee’s latest worship series, explores how the Christian virtue of generosity allows us to escape the entanglements of materialistic expectations. When you’re running a rat race, you can’t tell that you’re in a maze. All you can see is the back of the rat in front of you. If you can attain some altitude, though, the scenario is clearer.
Generosity is the invisible force that lets us rise above the culture of “more,” of me-focus, of self-gratification. In a world that follows financial gravity down the path of least resistance (and most consumption), generosity is a countervailing force that embraces the eternal values taught by Jesus Christ.
Defying Gravity by Tom Berlin is the companion book to this series.