Tag Archives: Income

A Hobby Kind of Thing

A Hobby Kind of Thing (CaD Matt 10) Wayfarer

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Matthew 10:16 (NIV)

I was in the local pub last week. I had to wait on some paperwork and figured I’d whet my whistle and work on responding to some emails while I waited. The pub tender told me that he’d been told I was a blogger. I explained that I’d been blogging for many years and had started podcasting in the past two years. I then got to explain my chapter-a-day model. I wasn’t sure, but I sensed that he might have had the impression that it has something to do with my career. I explained that it wasn’t a commercial thing and that I didn’t make money doing it.

“So, it’s just a hobby kind of thing?” he asked.

Another patron required the pub tender’s attention, and he slipped away. The question, however, continued to resonate within me. As with so many things of the Spirit, the pub tender’s question was loaded. The answer is layered. It is at once simple and mysteriously complex.

“Why do you do it?”

Matthew structured his biography of Jesus around five major discourses, or teachings, of Jesus. The first was the message on the hill in chapters 5-7. Today’s chapter is the second major discourse, in which Jesus’ calling of His twelve disciples and His instructions to them as He send them out to proclaim Jesus’ message.

As I read through the instructions, I was struck, once again, by the humility and austerity that He expected of them…

He told them not to pack any extras. Just the clothes on their back.
He told them not to take any money, but to trust God’s provision and the generosity of others.
He told them to give away Jesus’ teaching since it had been freely given to them.

Jesus then goes on to prophetically tell The Twelve not to expect the job to be easy.

They’ll be rejected and unwelcomed.
They’ll be arrested and taken into custody.
They’ll be flogged by God’s own people.
They’ll be put on trial by civic authorities.
They’ll be betrayed, perhaps by their own family members.
Their lives will be threatened.

In the quiet this morning, I couldn’t help but contrast this with all the televangelists and their personal kingdoms I’ve observed along my life journey. I contrasted it with all of the pastors, authors, teachers, and speakers I know and have met who make a living doing Jesus’ continued work on this earth. I don’t think it’s appropriate to expect that Jesus’ literal and specific instructions to The Twelve should be projected onto every single follower that came after. At the same time, there’s an underlying attitude that I think is always applicable. Things of the Spirit are layered with meaning.

I’m not responsible for others. I am responsible for myself. So, I find myself questioning my own attitude and motivations as the pub tender’s casual question continues to resonate in my soul.

“So, it’s just a hobby kind of thing?” he asked.

Yes, and…there’s so much more to it than that. As Jesus instructed The Twelve in today’s chapter: “You received the Message for free. Give it away for free.”

And so, one weekday and one chapter at a time, I freely scatter seeds of thought and Spirit to the four winds of the worldwide interweb. Perhaps, someday, I’ll find out how some of those seeds germinated, took root, flowered, and bore fruit. In the meantime, I keep doing what I’ve been called and compelled to do.

Here you go, wind…

[cue: clicks “Publish” button]

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Chapter-a-Day Deuteronomy 14

WASHINGTON - MARCH 26:  A smiley face was draw...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

At the end of every third year, gather the tithe from all your produce of that year and put it aside in storage. Keep it in reserve for the Levite who won’t get any property or inheritance as you will, and for the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow who live in your neighborhood. That way they’ll have plenty to eat and God, your God, will bless you in all your work. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (MSG)

God’s Message talks more about economics than you might think. I’ve come to realize that there is a system that I like to call God’s economy. In the economic system of God’s kingdom each and every individual is called upon to personally set aside provision from their regular income that he/she will then give away to bless those who are less fortunate or in need. The thing that I appreciate about God’s economic system is that it applied to everyone across the board. Those who were more fortunate had larger portions to set aside and share, but even those with little income were responsible to use a portion of whatever small amount they were given to give to others. Everyone participated and the local community benefited.

Somewhere along the way we lost touch with the personal responsibility and management piece and handed it over to our representative government. The government takes it before we even receive our paycheck and so we lose sight and touch with how much of our income is even taken from us to feed the system. The government handles all of the distribution so we lose touch with any personal responsibility for managing it nor do the vast majority of us get the blessing of actually giving it to a person who needs it. Not all who produce share in the responsibility of giving to those in need and who gives what becomes a quagmire of political machinations.

Certainly, we all have the opportunity to save, tithe, and give above and beyond what we are taxed. I get that. The thing that I find really sad is that God’s economy was set up to build individual character along with building up the local community. Neighbors provided for neighbors. There was local accountability and local blessing. There were deep spiritual lessons and the development of maturity that came from the personal responsibility required of each and every person to manage and give away a portion of their income to family, friends, neighbors and strangers in their community who were in need.

I understand that this still happens to varying degrees on a small scale, but I find it sad that our economic system has strayed far from the economic system God prescribed. I believe it has happened to the detriment of ourselves, our communities and our society as a whole.

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