Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Response to #TheJesusChallenge

John Gray and Jomo Johnson
One pastor in Washington, DC has gained national attention for issuing what he calls “the Jesus Challenge.” Jomo Johnson is exhorting believers to sacrifice one item per day, per week, or per month for a year. Johnson stated in a YouTube video, “Jesus told the rich young ruler, sell all you have, give it to the poor, then you’ll have riches in heaven…We want to be able to follow Jesus in this lifestyle of minimalism.” 

As a missionary, I’ve lived minimally for over two decades. In 1998, the Lord directed me to give away many of my belongings since I would be doing a lot of traveling. Four years later, the Lord told me to downsize even more so that everything I own would fit into three bags. Soon after I got blessed with a new luggage set...three suitcases on wheels. Since then, I’ve often had to bring all my belongings with me because of not having a permanent place to live. In recent years, I’ve sought out panhandlers by offering snacks to those professing to be hungry.

Jomo Johnson also made headlines for directing his challenge toward another pastor who wears expensive sneakers and gave his wife a Lamborghini worth $200,000. Here’s a question for Pastor Johnson: “What’s it to you?” Pastor John Gray used his own money (not church funds) to buy that car. It shouldn’t matter to Pastor Johnson how another preacher spends his discretionary income as long as it’s not for sinful activities. How Pastor Johnson manages his resources is not the standard for everyone else to follow. God isn’t into socialism but has given us “…power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)

Here’s something the Lord told one youth pastor when he questioned in his mind how much money his boss (the senior pastor) should be making….

“Don't you ever again presume I should consult you when I decide how to financially resource and bless one of my children. The moment you make a judgment on another's finances is the moment your finances will come under judgment. When you embrace lack and limits for another, you will not find success breaking through lack and limits in your own life. If you affirm lack for another, you will experience lack yourself.”

Once again, the Lord doesn’t mind us having things as long as the things don’t have us. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” - Matthew 6:33

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