Running Scared (Part 4): God Speaks on Money & Possessions

Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.

It dawned on me as I read these last three chapters (about mid way through) of this section, “God Speaks on money and possessions”, that we had not talked a whole lot about money and possessions.  At least not specifically.  That does come more fully in chapter fourteen, but I found that this was something that I appreciated because it has meant that Welch has spent more time dealing with the roots of anxiety and worry – rather than simply dealing with symptoms and manifestations.

I also like the “Personal Response” sections.  Although it all feels personal in a way, those sections model for us how we are to respond to God’s Word and good teaching on it.

Here are some of the things that captured my attention in these chapters:

Anxiety asks for more information so it can be prepared for the coming apocalypse.  It also asks for more information so it can manage the world apart from God…Our anxious tendency is to amass information so that (perhaps) the sheer weight of it would subdue our worries and fears.”

Guilty as charged. I am a planner and don’t tend to make decisions quickly and while this has been prudent in many cases, I can’t help but see the side of this that is about control and damage control.  And so I have to go back to the bigger picture of what God is doing in and through me.  Welch drops this bomb on us:

God does not promise grace that removes hardships…God does not promise that earthly life in his kingdom will be easier than life in our own kingdom…Compared with life outside the kingdom, suffering will be more intense, if only because we love others more deeply….Then you remember: his grace to you is intended to accomplish his kingdom purposes, not your own.”

This is where Welch is leading us: to the radically deep love of God that calls us into a grand story of manifesting that love in the world through us. This is a powerful antidote for worry and anxiety. It is hard to love others if I am consumed by my own selfishness, worries, anxieties, fears, wants, etc.  This call to a deeper living through conscious loving of others stood out to me in these chapters.

And wasn’t chapter thirteen, on Psalm 27, excellent and another model for us?  And in chapter fourteen, there was the very helpful thoughts on worry as not just being an emotion, but “misdirected love that should be confessed.”  This is so good and helpful.  We tend to excuse our emotions, justifying them, and calling them out of character.  But that’s just it, our worry, anxiety, fear is our sinful character at work!  “It is trying to manage our world apart from God.  It is making life about our needs, desires, and wants.”

One small criticism and this is really the first.  On page 161 (chapter fourteen) Welch says: “It time to choose sides”, with regard to trying to serve money and the Lord.  While we must and do choose sides, this presents it as a final choice, while I find I am fighting this battle all the time.  That choice is always before me, though in some sense, it has already ultimately been made.

What got your attention?  Convicted or comforted?

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gina on August 7, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Chapter 12 was the most significant chapter of the entire book for me. The whole concept of receiving enough, MORE than enough, grace for today and tomorrow rang all kinds of bells in my head. I always want to know what that will look like exactly, so that I can measure whether it will be what I need, so that I will ultimately feel in control. But God calls me to trust him, which also means that I don’t get a sneak peek at the manifestation of his grace.

    Grace, while a very pretty-sounding word, does not always look pretty. “God does not promise grace that removes hardships.” In fact, we’re promised suffering as a result of being saved by grace. That’s not fun, and doesn’t even seem fair.

    Also, I was struck by the idea of receiving the grace I need WHEN I need it, not ahead of time. If I try to “prepare” for the worst case scenario and guess how God will help me, “I will project the grace I have received for today onto tomorrow, not comprehending that I will receive grace as needed tomorrow.” Another line that got me: “We want specific confirmation that there will be grace, and we want to calm ourselves not by trusting in the Gracious One but in seeing the future.”

    Again, Welch points me back to God himself, to my relationship with him, as the answer. If I’m overtaken by God’s beauty and seeking his kingdom, there’s no room for worry or fear. And when I allow that room, when I indulge in worry and fear, the only way out of that pit is confession. Tough (but good) words to chew on.

    Reply

  2. Posted by adamtisdale on August 8, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Gina: Thanks, as always, for taking the time to share what was significant for you. As you say, there are a lot of tough, but good words to chew on. Reading & writing about the book have been a great way to do that more.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Johanna on August 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Favorite quotes from this section:

    “all beauty exists because it reflects the beauty of God” (154).

    “Worry’s magnetic attraction can only be broken by a stronger attraction” (154).

    “No one can interfere with his care and deliverance” (157).

    “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” (165).

    “The greatest human joy can be found in loving and being loved” (165).

    : )

    Reply

  4. Posted by adamtisdale on August 9, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Johanna – the first two stood out for me as well. And the fourth one, attributed to Jim Elliot is a classic.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Gina on August 10, 2008 at 1:40 am

    And the last one was immortalized in the song “Nature Boy”.

    Reply

  6. […] August 13, 2008 Running Scared (Part 5): God Speaks on People & Their Judgments Posted by adamtisdale under Books, Church Work, christianity | Tags: anxiety, blogging the book, Books, christianity, fear, religion, running scared, worry |   Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.  Part four here. […]

    Reply

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