The Un-American Dream

The Un-American Dream

Apr 17
The Un-American Dream

I’ve been reading the book “Radical” by David Platt.  I do not recommend it.  It will ruin your life.

For the better.

The basic premise of the book is that you can’t follow Christ and the American Dream at the same time.  I’m pretty sure that Jesus even said something similar once upon a time (before there was an America).  He said, “No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”  (Luke 16:13)

To make matters worse, in the very next verse it says that the Pharisees loved money and they sneered at Jesus.  The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the time.  The men who were supposedly the most devoted to God.

One of the anecdotes from the book that grabbed me and has never go was something the author shared from a Christian publication.  One headline read “Relief Helps Sudanese Refugees”.  In the article, he learned that a church had raised $5,000 for refugees in western Sudan.  On the same page was an article celebrating a new $23 million building.

Twenty-three million for a new church.  Five thousand for people driven from their homes by war.

I have every confidence that they do wonderful things with that building.  I don’t doubt that for a second.  But I can’t help but wonder if they could have maybe cut a few corners.  Had a couple fewer classrooms.  Maybe got second-rate pews or a little cheaper windows.  Maybe shave 10% off of the cost of the building and give that money to refugees.  By cutting a little here and there, they could have had $2.3 million.  That amount of money could radically change a piece of the world.

For the better.

I understand, though.  They had to borrow money for the building.  I’m sure they didn’t have $23 million lying around.

I can’t stop thinking of the movie Schindler’s List.  Especially the very end, where Schindler realizes how much more he could have done.  He looks at his car and asks why he didn’t sell it.  He could have saved 10 more if he’d just sold his car.  He’s wearing a gold pin.  He realizes he could have saved two more people by selling it.  Even thinking about his despair moves me to tears.

In short, Schindler looks at his wealth and is appalled at how much he kept for himself.

It isn’t enough, but it’s a start — I’ve increased my monthly giving by 50%.  The money I would have spent on season tickets has been set aside for any needs that arise.  The first 10% of our tax refund was also set aside for this purpose.  Kim and I are hoping that God will allow us to set aside enough to build a well in Uganda this year in addition to meeting any needs we are aware of.

I find myself looking around my office at my computer, my books, and my other treasures and asking myself how many lives God could save with that money.  My heart breaks for Mr. Schindler.  I’m only beginning to understand.

4 comments

  1. FRANCES TODD

    HOW ABOUT ONLY GETTING MONEY FOR BIRTHDAY, CHRISTMAS, ETC. AND GIVING IT AWAY?

    • I love the idea, Frances. However, it isn’t something I want to force on anyone else. I’m looking forward to getting to give more.

  2. Latayne Scott

    Very moving and insightful post, Chris. I am so proud of you both.

    • Thank you so much, Latayne! I can’t tell you how much that means to me. There are very few people I would say I “look up to” but you are definitely on that list. I admire you tremendously and I’m honored that you read these posts.

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