The Green Monster and the “Less” vs “More”


05_30_3_webOne of the aspects of the human condition is that as a general rule everyone is a socialist until it’s about their own money. Those with “less” love to direct and tell those with “more” where their “more” should go. But when the same directive is thrust back in the face of the “less,” the coughing, running and excuse making begins in earnest.

By the way, I would identify as one of the “less.” Welcome to the club!

The struggle is simple and multifaceted at the same time. Everyone wants to enjoy the fruit of their labors without others hindering them by making their monetary decisions for them. That last sentence opens several proverbial cans of worms. Dump in talk of national economies, job creation and satisfaction, the discussion never ends well in a world divided by the activities of The Green Monster in the heart of mankind.

This is what makes the following even more remarkable. That American Christians would give fully 10% of their gross income plus offerings for a wide range of needs with a cheerful heart is nothing short of shocking. It is to visualize The Green Monster trapped in a cage, unable to find mastery over an individual. What is even more remarkable is when these tithes and offering are given by a group of people who have the very same needs as those whom the funds are directed toward, outside of a local church. This is a miracle that repeats itself over and over again. And yet even at this point, some of those with “less” outside the Church would like to dictate where those tithes and offerings go…

That’s the human condition for you.

Christian giving is counter-intuitive within socialistic and capitalistic cultures. The reason why is pretty simple. It is given within another economy – a supernatural one. Giving works in God’s economy. From Scripture, a Christ-follower does not give to get, but instead gives out of obedience. And yet time and again the faithful find their needs being met, often seeing the miraculous in the process.

The subject most spoken of in the New Testament is money, that Green Monster that lurks in the shadows, tempting us for control of our life situations. Jesus said,

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 NLT

This life encouragement is a discussion starter to gain control over The Green Monster by elevating above the “less” and “more” battle into a new economy. And yes, personally my wife and I have found the Scripture to be true. While we give out of obedience, time and again we find our needs being met. And yes, we’ve become acquainted with the miraculous…

How big is The Green Monster in your life? Do you know others in your life that can help you transition from an earthly economy into a supernatural one? Who has control of our wallets? What greatness would be unleashed in your life should you step into a new economy? What are your financial goals for 2017, and what are you willing to do to reach those goals?



Perfectly Imperfect

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been working on a couple projects in my garage. What started out in a flurry has moved into spending a few hours a week on them to keep moving forward. Once I get going, I very much enjoy working with my hands. I also like solving problems.

Speaking of problems, the material I’m using is pretty rough. In order to make these pieces look good, it will require lots of filling imperfections followed by extensive use of sand paper.

Truth be told, these two pieces of furniture I’m building are already driving me nuts because I realize that neither will be perfect. I also understand that the problem isn’t just the rough lumber I’m using, but also the limitations of the builder – me.

When it comes to our personal lives, it’s easy to find imperfections. That’s because the material, well, sometimes it’s pretty rough. And so we add filler and sand, add filler and sand, add…okay, you get it. There’s one other thing that I’ve found to be true. If I try do do all the work myself, the results will never be perfect. And yet it’s those moment of seeing my own coarseness, my own imperfections, that it makes me appreciate Who can help me build a life that adds value to others.

And too often because I’m involved, that perfection is perfectly imperfect…

What are imperfections that you want to change? Whom/what helps you build your life in spite of your imperfections to add value to others? When is it okay to be “perfectly imperfect?”

Changing Your Lane

As we travel through “life in our lane” we are reminded that our age and experiences may dictate that the scenery is different than where we were before.

Before we turn 16 and get our driver’s license, we long for days of freedom. And then we get behind the wheel for the first time alone, with no one to tell us what to do. That lane is not only full of new responsibility, but freedom.

I put 1500 miles on my car that first month of driving…LOVED that lane.

Maybe some of us have arrived at the place where getting there is just part of the journey, and how quickly we do it is not. That’s another lane altogether…

Kinda know that lane these days, and it’s okay.

Now, here’s where things get dicey…

Are you in the “lane of life” you want to be? If not, what are you willing to do to change lanes?

  • Change careers?
  • Change of scenery?
  • Get training?
  • Change companies?
  • Change influencers?
  • Change, change, CHANGE!

It’s not easy changing lanes. It’s hard work, courageous even. But one thing is for sure, that NOT changing lanes when you need to leads directly to commonly repeated cultural truths. Try these out and see how they fit:

“If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll get the same results you’ve always gotten.” (paraphrase of Henry Ford)

“A rut is a grave with both ends kicked out.” (Vance Havner)

“If the horse is dead…DISMOUNT.” (Dakota Indian saying)

Pick one, pick them all, write your own. They all fit. In fact, this blog and my new website were my response to my own need to change lanes…

Here’s the moral we need to grab hold of. There are many lanes we can travel in. Pick one that is not only good for you, but good for others (remember that there are lanes of life that rob others of life – avoid these highways like the plague). Pick the lane where you want to belong and function accordingly – to the rules and standards of that lane/form of life travel. More on this later.

Do the things NOW that get you into that new lane. There, you have permission. Go for it!

What lane do you want to do life in? Do you have the will and courage to make a change? Do you have people in your life who will encourage your new direction, or do you need to find a new set of people?

Proverbs 29:18