1 Corinthians 16:1,2 Now concerning the collection for the saints… On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside…
In the process of writing this blog, I read a passage in the morning and then spend the day meditating on it so I have something to write about tomorrow. Yesterday, I started with this passage but came up with nothing. Usually finding it easy to meditate on a subject, I found that I did not want to think about money. I don’t have a problem with money.
Realizing last night that I did not know what I was going to write, I set out to clear my head. I usually run, but I was tired as well as uninspired, so I walked. In my pontification, I realized that money, for me, likely represents a cross addiction.
A cross addiction is when an addict abstains from a drug, only to act like an addict in another area. It may be an old addiction or a new one. It is a continued unhealthy attachment to some person or thing above God, which controls behavior in some destructive manner, even if that destruction is just to distract from God.
When an individual writes a blog, particularly about recovery and faith, you would like to think that individual has life all figured out. Well, I do not (gasp). I still, at times, act like an addict. I still have defects with which I still struggle.
We all do. We all have unhealthy attachments to things which we are tempted to put before God. Whether it is lust, food, appearance, status, affirmation, alcohol or money, we are all inclined to pursue the desires of our flesh above God. Though Christ died to set us free from ourselves, we still at times, choose self.
With money, I tend to do what I want. Sure, I give substantially, but that is because I can afford to. I never give until I feel it. I make sure I am satisfied first. I am just not as aware of my attachment to money because it is an acceptable addiction.
I still worry though, that if Jesus asked me, like the rich young ruler, to give it all up to follow him, that I would walk away sad (Luke 18:22). I tell myself that I follow God above all, but what if I truly had to put that to the test? Could I leave my money and stuff behind, choosing a life of poverty to follow Christ?
Thankfully, Paul set the bar a little lower in today’s passage. He told his audience that they were to set aside some money the first day of the week to support the church. He did not command them to sell all they had, but he did insist that they give off the top to God and not give the scraps at the end of the week.
This is a useful principle to me. Do I give God the first of my time, money and effort? Do I wake up in the morning to meet him? If the first thing I do every day is check social media for personal affirmation, then I may have an unhealthy attachment to affirmation. If God is truly first in my life, I need to get up every day and seek him first, above all. If I first spend my money on me and give God the leftovers, then I may have an unhealthy attachment to money.
As I still have cross addictions, a good test for me is to daily ask what I put before God. Do I give first to God of my love, effort, time and money? Or do I give him the scraps? If I call myself a disciple, I daily must deny self, putting God above all.