I was recently reading a sermon by John Wesley "The Use of Money." In it he advocates the following principles:1) Earn as much as you can.2) Save as much as you can.3) Give as much as you can.In earning as much as we can, he means we should make as much of our idle time as possible, yet not so much that we damage our bodies or families. With saving as much as we can, he means being careful on what we spend our money. We should spend only on what we need to pay the bills, feed and clothe our family, and afford some convienences. In giving as much as we can, Wesley says if you just save your money so as to store it up forever, you might as well just toss it into the sea, for it is doing nothing good. Therefore, one should give whatever leftover money they have to those in need and to the church. If one gets a raise in their income, they should not look at this for a chance to spend more money on luxuries/delicacies. Rather, one should rather look at their raise as a chance to give more away.Quite interesting principles. The preface to the sermon said Wesley sought to strongly advocate this teaching, yet even in his own Methodist socities few ever paid him much attention in regard to it. Yet it seems he was one who seriously practiced what he preached here. He made millions in his lifetime, yet died with just enough money to pay those who burried him for their services.
I have met people who do this. It works.
Wesley seemed to preach that by doing such, one would avoid the snare of ease. For example, he recalls one man whom he sat talking to that gave away 90% of his income every year. Yet when his servant came in and messed up making the two of them a fire, the man became very upset and complained to Wesley "see what crosses I have to bear?" Wesley warns that the comfort riches provide one might make one too soft, even if you give away 90% of it a year.
Wesley warns that the comfort riches provide one might make one too soft, even if you give away 90% of it a year.
I've always believed that real sacrificial giving is when it's a chioce between that thing you want to get and the need you see in the life of someone else, thats the cross section of the cross and point of choice we all face at some timeS in our life. Even though I do believe in ordered giving on a regular basis, it's generally when we have to go beyond ourselves, that's the true test of giving, and where our heart really is. I've always believed that in America the organized church has done more harm by preaching tithing( a percentage) than they would have had they just thought people to give open handed (as you've mentioned) as they saw the needs.
This message by Wesley is on the Declension of Christianity. I want to add my amen and encourage all to take time and read it for yourselves.He gives the formula get all you can, save all you can, give all you can. He says that the first two without the third will essentially put a person in hell. This is the reason, he writes, for the declension of Christianity. Great read. GREAT COUNSEL!RT
Not to knock Wesley's exhortation to earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, and give all you can away, but I was meditating upon it recently and I thought perhaps his exhortation was a little lacking because it does not take into consideration that God has given different measures of grace to each believer, and some might be indeed called to do such, while others might not be called to such. Also one should consider Annanias and Saphira, who Peter said had the right to do with the sale from their land as they wished until they vowed otherwise. Just some thoughts. By the way, if you are one of those rare and exceptionally wonderful people that feel led to give away everything you have after taxes and basic expenses, drop me a line :) I could use some money and know some people going on missions trips that could use some help with saving such to buy the air-ticket to get there :)