Friday, May 22, 2015

The Briefcase

There's a new show coming out this summer called The Briefcase. The premise is simple - a family receives a briefcase containing $100,000. It is up to them to decide how much to keep and how much to pass on to another, unknown, family who also has a financial need. 

It sounds noble enough, like a great human experiment. 

But this is going to be a challenge to the faithful among us. We have to be very careful here not to let ourselves be drawn into faulty theology. If we go down that road, we don't glorify God; we set Him up for failure. 

There will, I think, inevitably be at least one family who looks at the money, looks at their need, and decides that God will provide for them. Then they pass on the entire sum of money to the second family and come off looking like the faithful. They are, after all, trusting God to take care of them. And publicly! This is what the Christian life is really all about, isn't it?

....not really. 

Because when you take this potential gift, this potential blessing, that's sitting right in front of you and pass it on, declaring that God will take care of you, what are you really saying about God? You're saying that He's going to transcend the universe and come supernaturally to help you. This is something we've been believing about God for centuries - that He moves heaven and earth to get to us, that He does the impossible, that He will magically and mystically take care of our every need if only we'll trust Him to do so. 

And He does move heaven and earth. ...but not all the time. He does do the impossible. ...and the possible. He does magically and mystically take care of our every need. ...often through the mundane.

Does that mean everything that comes your way is from God? Not necessarily. Does it mean God's provision is not supernatural? No. It just means we have to be discerning and alert. God may be doing the most unexpected in the most quiet way. 

I can't help but think about this potential family, the one that looks at more than enough money to put them on stable ground, and refuses to touch a penny of it on the basis of "faith." I can't help but wonder what happens when their financial situation doesn't get any better, when five years, ten years, twenty years from now, they still find themselves saddled with the incredible debt they're facing now (only snowballed because, well, interest). I can't help but think about how their faith starts to be challenged if God doesn't show up in this invisible way.

I can't help but think, to paraphrase an old story/joke, what happens when one day, they meet God and get to ask Him why He never helped them when they put so much faith in Him. And God just looks at them and says, I sent you a briefcase full of money. What more did you want?

See, most of us are willing to live like this. We're willing to push aside the very real provision that God is making in our lives because it doesn't feel supernatural enough. Because it seems so quiet, so simple. Because it's not thunder-and-lightning, earth-shaking God. It's just...say...a briefcase. And then we spend our lives questioning why it is that God never comes to us.


It's bad theology. It's faulty theology. See, God never promised to do all the big things in our lives; He promised to do all the good things in our lives. When you're looking for God, you don't have to keep looking for all the big, supernatural, unexplainable, impossible things. You have to look for the very real blessings that are pouring down on you right now. 

And no, you probably don't take the whole $100,000. But you pray about how much of it God might want you to have. Not out of some "noble" sacrifice that someone else might need it more, but out of the recognition that you need it now and God has seen fit to provide. Then, thank Him for it. It's that simple. Instead of trying to show the world our "faith," we ought to be showing them His faithfulness.And that only comes through our accepting of His gift and our thanks.

When you take what God sends your way in thankfulness, it's not a lack of faith; it's an act of faith.

So the question is this: what's really in that briefcase? Could it be more than mere money? Could it be God's incredible blessing poured out on you?

Will you take it?

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