Living on Level 3

     In his well known book “Desiring God”, John Piper devotes a chapter about Christians and money. In it, he asks the question, “Why had God given us so much?”.  And he then turns to Ephesians 4:28 where Paul writes, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” To be honest with you, I have never given that verse a whole lot of thought.  Of course, I made a mental note of it in case I would have to counsel someone struggling with stealing.  But Piper points out that this verse has larger implications for all Christians.
   About this Piper writes:

“In other words, there are three levels of how to live with things: (1) you can steal to get; (2) or you can work to get; (3) or you can work to get in order to give. Too many professing Christians live on level two. Almost all the forces of our culture urged them to live on level two. But the Bible pushes us relentlessly to level three.”

      Dr. Piper offers us some serious food for thought.  In my estimation, he is absolutely right in pointing out that our culture does push us to live on level 2.  Sadly, I think the church also pushes believers to live on level 2, if not intentionally, at least through her silence. 
     Yet Jesus is not silent about this topic.  He actually talked about money quite often, and when he did, He generally spoke about level 3 living. He calls us constantly to give….to be generous…to store up our treasures in Heaven and not on earth (See Matthew 6:19-24).
     At the very least, this is a good reminder that the entire Christian life is a calling to live an “others-oriented” life.  Christ calls us to consider others as more important than ourselves.  He calls us to spend our time, talents, and treasures for the Kingdom of God. Much of this spending takes place by spending ourselves on others. And so we need to ask, “Are we working to get?”, or “Are we working to give?”

 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. -Philippians 2:3-4

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