Kent Hughes’ chapter on materialism and money in Set Apart is a great discussion of Christian stewardship. In our wealthy Western culture, this is for sure worth thinking about.
“Along with this understanding that our money is not our own, we must give it away joyfully. Theologian Jacques Ellul says that the only way to defeat the godlike power that money seeks to impose on our lives is to give it away, which he calls profaning it: ‘To profane money, like all other powers, is to take away its sacred character.’ This destroys its power over us. ‘Giving to God is the act of profanation par excellence,’ says Ellul. Every time I give, I declare that money does not control me. Perpetual generosity is a perpetual de-deification of money.”
“This makes great sense, and it cuts through the paralyzing controversies over affluence and individual lifestyle. Wherever you are on the economic continuum, you need to give generously and regularly. Generous giving as it relates to your affluence will free you from the bondage of money. You will be profaning money – declaring that it is not a god in your life. You can talk until the moon stands still about what is the proper lifestyle for a member of you church, and the result would be a corporate orgy of judgmentalism. And if we came up with a written description, it would entrench a grace-nullifying legalism. Paul minced no words with Timothy:”
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).