What Your Car Might Tell Others About Jesus

We’re just finishing up a Wednesday night study of Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. I’ve done several past posts (here and here) on Chan’s book, so I won’t spend time here giving background on the book. If you haven’t read Crazy Love, it would be worth your time to do so. Chan has also posted several videos that go along with chapters in the book on YouTube. Here is the short clip I showed last night--

Chan’s take here really stands out in contrast to what some of the popular TV preachers say and do about concerning money. Can you imagine Creflo Dollar driving a 15 year old Subaru clunker (he drives a Rolls Royce) and sending the excess to support an African orphanage? Joel Osteen owns a 17,000 square foot, $10.5 million dollar estate. Kenneth Copeland flies his own $20 million Cessna Citation jet, the fastest private jet that money can buy. There was a Senate investigation launched into these excesses, but the millions of people who routinely donate to these ministries have not been discouraged. Contrast the video above with this one from Inside Edition--

The contrast between these two different views of money raises two questions, one of them easy and one of them much harder. First, which of these two videos looks more like Jesus? Or maybe even more to the point, which of these two projections of the use of money by Christians looks more like Jesus to our non-Christian world. To tell you the truth, the church looks pretty much like a joke to many non-Christians precisely because of those television preachers and their lifestyles.  If we are going to get the world to take a serious look at Jesus, then we'd better take a serious look at ourselves.

Second, and this is a much tougher question, what does the way that you and I spend our money say to the non-Christian world about Jesus? OK, so I don’t drive a Rolls Royce, but I do drive a five year old Honda CR-V which I do like quite a bit and still owe some money on,  And that means that I DO NOT  drive a 15 year old Subaru and send the difference to support African orphans. Does my CR-V say anything to others about Jesus?  I wonder.  Is it possible that our lifestyle says more than we realize about how seriously we take Christ… and how seriously we can expect the world to take our message? We suggested last night that the reason that many Christians can’t even consider supporting one orphan (let alone an entire orphanage) is because we are so heavily in debt paying for things we really done need that we don’t have the money to give away for more important… and eternal… things. Paul told Timothy to teach the rich folks in Ephesus (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

How are we to not be arrogant or put our trust in wealth (v. 17) and lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (v. 19)? By doing good, being generous and sharing with others in need (v. 18). If we aren't doing that, then maybe were looking more like those rich televangelists than we'd ever like to think!