Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Being Radically Generous

A Tiffany stain glass depicting generosity 
This week, I've been searching and struggling on what to write. The news seems to be the same every day; it can be boiled down to two themes. President Donald Trump did something outrageous. Americans are angry.

And I really wondered if I should be commenting on Donald Trump's Muslim ban, his order to build the Great Wall of America, or his Supreme Court nominee. Then, I wondered if I should write about Baldwin Park and all the more corruption I've been observing. In the end, at least today, I decided I want to write on my own spiritual journey and the call to radical generosity.

The topic began like this. Currently, I'm researching the machinery of off shore accounts. How they work; who uses them; and the cloak-and-dagger operation of it all. In some ways, I'm fascinated. In some ways, I'm disgusted. In some ways, I feel like a muppet.

Why is it that the super rich don't pay taxes, but we do? And then, the taxes we pay, just go to the super rich, whom learned to skim it and stuff it an offshore account. The whole thing was making me angry.

(I think if you stop and think about it, and you pay taxes; think about the fact that a certain percentage of your labor is going to public official thieves that have lied to you and told you it was for another purpose - animal control, business licenses, or zika virus control.)

Around the same time, I was reviewing my own personal finances and thought how nice it'd be if I never had to worry about paying bills again. And for some reason, thinking about it, made me worry some.

On a car ride, I asked my mentor what to do. I told him I was kind of worried about it all. He went on to say, we all have such worries. That surprised me that he had those worries too, because he always seems calm to me.

The issue plagued me. I didn't think it was right to worry about it, because after all, as a Christian, I should have faith in a God, who created the universe and has any and all resources at his disposal. On the other hand, there was my reality of it all.

While I was running at my sacred hills, where the owls, coyotes, and the skunk have all become familiar with me, I heard the soft voice in my head make a suggestion. Why not be radically generous?

Oh, I thought. Not this again. I've been through this once in my life before.

When I first started practicing law, I wasn't making anything. Then out of nowhere - boom! I got my first paycheck. Then there was the one Christmas I couldn't afford to buy gifts, and I felt so sorry for myself. But God was truly faithful, as the month after, a handsome sum of money came through. And although all of it makes for a good yarn, I can't say it was a pleasant journey to live from paycheck to paycheck, all the while committing myself to be generous to a number of causes.

In the end, I concluded, however, that greed, this fear that there's not enough, is at core of all the modern evils of this world. No wonder, the Scriptures say, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Tim. 6:10).

I can't support living the way these people do. Therefore, I decided that I really should be radically generous this year. One definition of radical means, "Thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms." Another definition states, it means to be "fundamental."

It's scary for me. I'm not sure what's going to happen. I'm not sure if this going to come back to haunt me.

Nonetheless, I'm reminded of a promise verse that I've repeated to myself since I was young. It goes: "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." (Psalms 37:25).

1 comment:

  1. My friend, you have just reminded me of my favorite scripture to go to when I am troubled

    Philippians 4:6-7New Living Translation (NLT)

    6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

    Thank you!