Disciplined Abundance 202
Theatre III – Cocoonianity
If you’re new to this blog you’ve jumped smack into “Harlem Meets Mayberry: Black Reality, White Reality and the Way to Racial Healing.” We’re in Part III, which is Cocoonianity (a.k.a. Taking Whitey to the Woodshed). Part I was Brace Yourself and Part II was Hard Racial Truth. Feel free to backtrack!
Now, to the right of the Bloodhound Tither is the proud, Mature Giver; not loud, mind you, just proud. The Mature Giver is not loud because he is a member of Jesus’ Secret Society of Givers (Mt. 6:3). The Mature Giver, or MG, not only gives a full 10% of his pre-tax income but also gives above that figure to causes of his own choosing. The MG is steady and somewhat spontaneous, but his spontaneity moves in only one direction—up! In other words, he is not “bi-polar” like the Wild Tither who gives generously on faithful weeks and cautiously on less faithful weeks. The MG has established a “floor” of 10% no matter what, but his ceiling is higher than 10%. God bless the Mature Giver because he tries very hard to cooperate with God on the matter of money, and many good things happen because of the Mature Giver.
Finally we come to the Disciplined Abundance Returner, or DAR. All DARs are Mature Givers but not all Mature Givers are DARs. DARs are a subset of MGs, sort of like pastors are a subset of ministers or surgeons are a subset of doctors.
DARs have the firepower to blow Cocoonianity sky high, and if they do, the outcome of the War on RD will be a foregone conclusion. DARs have the God-given potential to make victory in the War on RD a matter of “when” rather than “if.” In a word, DARs are your friends…regardless of your race.
It’s a little tricky to distinguish the MG from the DAR, sort of like trying to tell twins apart if you don’t know them well. So let’s take a closer look at the “twins,” and soon enough identification will be a snap.
The main difference between the MG and DAR is motive. MG’s may give out of a mix of motives including faith, guilt, fear, legalism, duty, congregational culture and gratitude. The DAR, meanwhile, is propelled always and everywhere by just two motives: faith and gratitude. She is keenly aware of God’s involvement and favor in her life, and she is tickled to death to share her blessings.
The DAR has discovered, and is in fact addicted to, the “rush” that comes with releasing money into God’s hand. DARs understand that, as Christians living under the terms of the New Covenant, they have only one non-negotiable debt, and that debt is “the continuing debt to love others (Ro. 13:84).”
Now let’s look at the issue of attaching strings to the tithe. This means trying to steer all or part of the tithe in directions that meet with the giver’s approval. Some MGs, especially in smaller churches, use the tithe as an instrument of influence. DARs, meanwhile, never try to steer their tithe: They simply pick a home church and then faithfully return 10% of their pre-tax income to that church with no strings attached.
The word “return” in the previous paragraph is a crucial word in this discussion. While some Mature Givers think of tithing as “giving” and some think of it as “returning,” all DARs see tithing as a return of God’s money to God. In their view (which agrees with the Bible, by the way), the first 10% of their income is never theirs, therefore it is not theirs to “give.” All DARs believe that the least they can do—in fact, the only thing they can do—with the first 10% of their income is to return it to its rightful owner, who—as they see things–is God!
From the DAR perspective, then, it’s impossible to be generous by giving 10% or less because it’s impossible to be generous, in the true sense of the word, by “giving” what belongs to someone else. Caesar may fancy himself generous by taking from the rich and giving to the poor, but that’s not generosity in the spiritual sense. To the DAR, a spiritual being, true generosity kicks in only after 10% and blows like an exhilarating wind from there (Jn. 3:8).
Just where the DAR’s generosity “blows” after 10% is another point of distinction between MGs and DARs. Many MGs feel that after they’ve tithed, all the money that’s left over is theirs to spend or give as they see fit. DARs, though, view all of their money as God’s first and theirs second. In a sense, they view the distribution of their money as a partnership in which the Holy Spirit is the managing partner and they are the junior partner.
This is not to say that DARs believe God wants them to give away all their money. Rather, it is to say that DARs respect the Holy Spirit as the deciding vote in all their personal financial matters. No matter how much money they have—and DARs tend have a boatload of money—DARs don’t spend any of it without a quick discussion with the Holy Spirit. For example, it’s no exaggeration to assert that already today, hundreds of DARs have consulted the Holy Spirit for input on whether or not to buy a cup of Starbucks coffee. DARs have discipline. DARs have abundance. DARs are returners. DARs are disciplined abundance returners.
From the outside looking in, the DAR life may seem like a legalistic and obsessive life. Truth be told, it’s not at all legalistic but it is indeed obsessive. The DAR lifestyle is a lifestyle of pleasant obsession with God and constant awareness of the Holy Spirit’s companionship. This results in a lifestyle of constant generosity.
In a word, DARs are suckers for the Holy Spirit. As such, they hold a unique and wonderful distinction: DARs are the only suckers who never get a bum steer. That makes them the only suckers who cannot go wrong in their finances, which in turn makes them the only suckers with both the wherewithal and the desire to fund the War on RD.
Personally, I’m so infatuated by the beauty of the DAR’s heart that I could write a book about it, and it would be a much easier book to write than this one. But that book is not mine to write; it’s reserved for someone who understands money and DARs even better than I do. For now, all that’s left for me to write on the amazing subject of DARs are a few “mop-up” details which impact the War on RD.
Detail: All DARs are familiar with the “red” money words from the Bible. They know what Jesus has to say about money and they take his financial instructions seriously.
Detail: All DARs are just fine with prosperity. Not all DARs are wealthy, but they are all OK with wealth, both for themselves and for others.
Detail: All DARs know and live by Hebrews 11:6, which commands us to expect great rewards from God: “…anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and believe that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” This issue of expectation is one of the most divisive issue in the Christian church today.
Many Christians believe—erroneously—that it is wrong to expect God to reward them when they are faithfully generous. These Christians don’t understand that such a belief is actually an insult to God! DARs, meanwhile, have given up all pretense of “giving back to God” or “out-giving God.” By embracing the truth that God’s generosity is incomparable—the truth that God cannot be out-given—DARs have been set free to be both gracious receivers and excellent distributors of God’s financial blessings.
This divisive issue of expectation is also another glaring example of the truth of those words we first read back on P. XX: “One of Satan’s favorite strategies is to come up with a close counterfeit of an important truth and allow the Christian community to spot the error. Christians then become so committed to staying away from it that they miss the truth it distorted.”
The important truth here is that God loves to put wealth in the hands of the faithful—those who earnestly seek his will regarding money—because wealth in the hands of the faithful can move mountains like the mountain of racial dissonance. The close counterfeit is the so-called “prosperity gospel,” the notion that we can buy prosperity by “partnering” with an irresponsible prosperity preacher.
Too many Christians–like dogs running after a stick–are so focused on chasing down the prosperity counterfeit that they are oblivious to the prosperity truth. Those who believe that prosperity is wrong chase the stick so that they can chew it to pieces and thereby “save” others from the futility of chasing the stick. Meanwhile, those who follow blind prosperity guides chase the stick in hopes of financial blessing coming to them from God through their “Master,” the slick preacher who devours widows’ houses (Mk. 12:40). Neither of these dogs will ever hunt.
DARs, meanwhile, refuse to chase the counterfeit stick at all. They are spiritually panting and slobbering and ready to run, but they are totally focused on Jesus’ eyes rather than Satan’s stick-throwing hand. The DAR, then, is indeed a dog who will hunt!
Finally, all DARs have a blast in life. They love to have fun, and nothing gives them more fun than playing a part, any part, in all the fun things God wants to do for the human race. Often, the part that DARs play in all the fun is simply to bring the money!
As you’ve read this chapter you’ve probably wondered if I am a DAR. Well, if I am a DAR I really shouldn’t tell you because of that Secret Society of Givers thing. At the same time I don’t think it’s fair to leave you wondering, so I’ll just come right out and tell you: I am not a full-fledged DAR…yet. But I sure do want to be. I’m what you might call a DAR Wannabe, and I’m moving in the DAR direction, and as I move in that direction my life gets more exciting every day.
Now, if you’re a DAR or if you’re even thinking about becoming a DAR, I invite you to join me for the final leg of Cocoonianity. There we’ll find out how all this DAR stuff can be plugged into the War on RD.
Be street smart yet harmless. Peace.