It's God's Party, Not Yours
The purpose of your life involves bowing to the authority of Christ.
People question my wife and me about where we live and how we choose to spend our money. They basically say, "You know, it's OK with God if you spend money on yourselves—if you set you and your kids up financially. There's freedom in Christ."
You know, Jesus didn't have to leave heaven. Angels were probably saying, "Hey, you don't have to leave your home here. You deserve this; you're God." But Philippians 2 says that Jesus didn't hold onto equality with God. Did he have the right to stay in heaven? Of course. But what did he choose to do? He humbled himself. He made himself nothing. He took the form of a man. He took the form of a servant and died on the cross for us. And the Bible says that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. We shouldn't be thinking about what we deserve or what we have rights to.
This is something I struggled with when I first got into ministry. I could be a missionary and go overseas where I'd have to pretty much surrender everything. I'd have to suffer as Christ suffered. Or I could be a pastor in America, where, if your church grows to be a certain size, you can take more and more for yourself. It was so weird to me, and I wondered how I might be a pastor in America without climbing the ladder like everyone else. Just because a church is bigger, does that mean we're supposed to take more and have a higher standard of living? Should I try to live like an overseas missionary here in America?
My wife and I decided early on that no matter how big our church got, we didn't want to increase our standard of living. Nor do we want to maintain a standard of living. Instead, we want to live with less than what we have worked for. We want to display Jesus Christ through how ...
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Francis Chan is former pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God.