Is it uncomfortable raising money for CBA’s new education wing? Maybe the deeper question is this: “Is money uncomfortable?” We are living in arguably the most affluent culture in the history of the world. Yet, as I often say to my children, “we will always want one more: one more bite of ice cream, one more minute playing, one more vacation, (one more national championship)…” I find myself stuck in the vortex of materialism. John Piper, one of my favorite preachers, says that giving is the only antidote to materialism. In fact, the Bible speaks about finances over 2,000 times, so God obviously knows that money is a big topic. And since He is our Good Father, he wants to protect us from fleeting materialism (loving/depending on money) and free us to depend on eternal Him.
While I would be extremely uncomfortable asking for money for myself (and justifiably so), I am convinced it is a good thing to ask for money for a school that is partnering with parents, to inspire world changers through Christ-centered, intercultural, language immersion education. The teachers at CBA are changing the entire trajectories of hundreds of little lives, each of whom will grow up and impact many other lives all over the globe. In fact, this video gives a glimpse of how CBA is serving as a springboard for families to go minister overseas.
As we ask our families to help us network with potential givers, I imagine many parents will feel nervous. When this happens to me, I remember the story of Jesus’ first miracle (John 2). The wedding banquet in Cana runs out of wine. Mary, the mother of Jesus, directs the servants to Jesus and says “Do whatever he tells you.” The servants do exactly that. Jesus tells them to get the purification jars. They get all 6 of them. Jesus tells them to fill the jars with water. They fill them to the BRIM. Jesus then sends them back to the feast, so the master can try it.
Imagine, what is going on in the servants’ minds. Is this crazy? What will happen to us if the master tries it and its just water? Yet, they do “whatever Jesus tells them.” And it turns out to be the best wine. Now, imagine their joy when they knew they not only obeyed but filled the jars all the way to the BRIM. Randy Alcorn, another one of my favorite preachers, says that we can not take our possessions with us when we die, but we can send them on ahead. He is echoing Jesus’ words, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
Like Mary, I want to ask everyone, just go talk to Jesus about giving. Granted, Jesus might not direct some people to donate funds to CBA. But I know Jesus will lead everyone to give more and more and more- to fill up their heavenly treasures to the BRIM. Because that is who He is- He gave us EVERYTHING. And we can all give more specifically to initiatives that teach Jesus as our great treasure, who lived, died, rose again and ascended. Now, at the right hand of the Father, Jesus forgives all who seek Him and sends His Holy Spirit to fill them with His life, freeing us from storing up treasures on earth, and living radically with Him and loving others more and more and more. I know that no one will ever regret storing up more treasures in heaven. Another way of saying that, I know no one will ever regret treasuring Jesus more than anything on this earth.
I hope continue to learn and live this truth and then teach it my children, “Son, I know its frustrating when we can’t have ‘one more’ whatever right now, but I have amazing news. Jesus is that One More, and we can have Him forever!”
“We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Dr. Nathan Johnson