day 37/40: #40shoutouts40days

Dear Tim Keller,

My husband and I chose an unusual passage of scripture to be read at our wedding. You know when Jesus discusses how God provides food for the birds and dresses the fields with lilies? Then tells his audience to chill out and quit fretting over what to eat and wear? How romantic, right? (An aside for those who are not familiar: feel free to read the passage here.)

We chose this section of The Sermon on the Mount for several reasons. One, we both grew up in humble homes and had experienced God’s provision in the midst of scarcity. Two, we planned on eventually leaving Canada for Steve to pursue grad school. This meant a serious leap of faith to trust God with our needs, both during and after St Andrews. (Medieval historians do not pull in huge salaries, in case you were wondering). Three, our happily-ever-after was anything but defined and we wanted this passage to serve as a reminder to seek God before the details in our married life.

I don’t remember exactly when I came across your sermon on our wedding passage, Treasure vs. Money. It must have been in 2009 sometime, maybe early 2010. All I know is that Steve and I were swimming uncomfortably in debt at the time. Thankfully we were not drowning, but still.

When I landed a healthy promotion, we thought things were looking up. But six months later, after cutting costs and increasing revenue, things had hardly changed. Bad habits die hard, friends. Our frivolity and apathy caught up with us.

Around this time I listened to Treasure vs. Money. I was riding the 99 B-line along Broadway when your exposition of Jesus’ teaching sunk in and forever changed my relationship with money.

You talked about how greed blinds our eyes spiritually, how one of the chief symptoms of greed is that we think we’ve got it mastered. Isn’t that the truth? Some sin is obvious, like adultery, but Jesus has to tell us, “Watch out! You might be greedy!”

Your words that day had me pondering my perceptions of rich and poor people and where I saw myself on the continuum. They exposed that which I truly treasured. I finally understood the importance of following Jesus’ example of sacrificial death within the an economic context. It confronted my stingy generosity, how what I perceived to be a humble lifestyle was actually incredibly posh. It inspired me to be financially promiscuous.

In a world that idolizes riches and celebrity, Christians have an enormous opportunity to witness to the world around them by using money differently. Your teaching crystallized that for me. God used you to free me of so much bondage I didn’t know was holding me back. He miraculously rescued us from debt then and we’re counting on Him doing it again. This time, He’s really going to show off because I don’t know how on earth we’ll pay down these international student fees. Ugh. Each day has enough trouble of its own, right?

With humble gratitude and hope for the future,

Elissa

Friends, I want to type the whole sermon out for you to read because it is SO AMAZING. Please listen to it. You can also track down all kinds of other sermons on the Redeemer Presbyterian website.

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