Eugene Cho

faith and money [1]: where is your treasure?

I made a decision on Saturday to put the study through the book of Acts on hold and devote a few weeks teaching about Faith & Money. I’ll continue this series for the next two Sundays. I’ll also be chatting about Faith & Politics on Sunday, Nov 2 for obvious reasons.  While this series of posts [over the next two weeks] are broadly entitled “Faith & Money,” my hope is that it will resonate with a broader audience so feel free to forward this onto other folks.  I’m not an economist, a financial planner, or someone who has it all together…I’m writing simply as one person bumbling and stumbling my way as a follower of Christ and a person that wants to help change the world – while constantly being changed.

If last Sunday was any indication, I’d encourage you to make it out to Quest the next two Sundays or listen to the podcast if you’re able.  The response from last Sunday for Part I on Faith & Money was probably amongst the highest.  Why?

People are freaked out, or at least, very concerned.

The last few weeks – locally and globally – have certainly been like a bad roller coaster ride that leaves one disoriented and vomitaceous.  And unless you’re completely detached from the money machine, you’re likely impacted on some personal level and feeling pretty anxious.   Why?  Here are some real examples from our church community:

  • Just last week, five more people got laid off or received notices.  Several more have been unemployed for couple months. 
  • 401k[s], retirement funds, and life savings have taken a big hit for folks who are invested in the market.  I know of two people whose savings were completely wiped out because they held stock in companies that no longer exist.  Painful.  We have numerous senior citizens who are worried for obvious reasons.
  • Mortgages and foreclosures?  Yes.
  • Students worried if their student loans will be impacted. 
  • Small business owners who aren’t able to get loans to help build and sustain their businesses. 
  • People becoming homeless.  We haven’t had any folks at Quest…yet…but 10 folks from Nickelsville came by Quest last week and asked to use our parking space for their encampment.  The Elder Board was seriously praying about their request but thankfully for them, they found a larger church with a larger parking space.  But the stories we heard are not unlike the situations of people at our church. 

Another reason why I’m talking about Money?  Because, in short, it is the prevailing idolatry in our world.  It’s subtle but it is seductive and power.  More on this during the next post.

Another reason why I’m teaching and writing about this?  Because I need it.

I had a personal bout of anxiety, faith, and trust.  About two weeks ago, I literally froze with fear and anxiety.  I’m typically pretty even headed but I just lost it.  Six months ago, Minhee and I [and our children] finally decided to forge forward in starting our vision for the global poverty organization but we couldn’t have conceived the current financial climate.  As some of you know, we’ve covenanted 100K to the project; We’re trying to sell our rental home in this market to make the donation and it has been brutal.  Had to invest lots of money to get the home ready, lower the prices, and still waiting; Minhee returned back to grad school and thus, we had to apply for school loans; we have mortgage payments, blah blah blah.  Suddenly, in a span of few months, we went from living quarter to quarter to month to month.  And I just panicked.

But I sensed God reassuring me.  Huh?  Let me explain. 

No reassurances that my portfolio will rebound.  No reassurances that my home will sell. No reassurances that we’ll come up with the money to honor our current obligations and bills.  No reassurances that we’ll be able to fork over the 100K to start the poverty org in the next three months.  None of that.

What reassurance, then?  His presence as I sensed a strong rebuke and conviction: 

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21 [NLT]

That scripture and words of wisdom reminded me of a meeting my wife and I had a meeting with a friend in Korea this past summer.  She’s a “foreigner” living in Korea as a missionary and simply, a follower of Christ.  She’s learned the Korean language and asides from being “white,” she’s pretty much “Korean.”  She’s adopted the customs and cultures and grown a love for the people of Korea and beyond. 

She and her husband have also adopted a lifestyle of simplicity.  This is different from a life of poverty.  They’ve simply chosen to live as simply as possible…free from the stuff we often find ourselves loving, lusting, and labeling.

During our conversation, she shared her enthusiasm for our vision to fight global poverty and her commitment to keep us in prayer.  That in itself was enough: deeply edifying and encouraging. She proceeded to share that she didn’t really have any money to donate at this time.  We explained that was not what we were asking for…her emotional and spiritual support meant a great deal.

What happened next…we will never forget.

She opened her shoulder bag and proceeded to take out 6 or 7 small boxes and explained:

“My husband and I have committed to a life of simplicity and we don’t have money to give.  I love and believe in what you guys are doing.  These boxes are my jewelry…my heirlooms.  I don’t need this.  I want to give this to your organization.  Please sell it and use it to help the poorest of the poor.”

God convicted me with this question: 

“Where is your treasure…Who is your treasure?”

Filed under:

17 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    Cool post. My family and I have been living month to month for decades. God is faithful. We’ve got to get your missionary friend a job at a Christian foundation or two :^)

  2. chad says:

    i hear an enormous opportunity here for the Church to embody the love of Christ through providing physical blessings (food drives, temporary housing, transportation, the sky’s the limit!) to both members of the Church and the larger community.

  3. Wow. That last bit challenges me. I am struck by her gesture. We live simply, or a lot more simply than we used to. We are trying our best. We often have little to give to organizations or persons. I attach so much sentimental value to things, especially heirlooms. They are special. They have meaning. But in the end, they are just things. Where does my treasure lie? You’ve got me thinking. Thank you.

  4. Eddie says:

    Fabulous post, Eugene. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  5. […] [1] faith and money: where is your treasure? « beauty and depravity Posted by Geoff Filed in God Stuff, News Leave a Reply […]

  6. Aaron says:

    This past week I have been battling greed like crazy. I am not sure what spurred it on, but I have been overwhelmed. Im looking forward to the podcast!

  7. Tyler says:

    awesome eugene. how can anyone not love what you had to say? personal, authentic, challenging. well said.

  8. phyllisophy says:

    wow. thank you. this is really helpful.

  9. Wayne Park says:

    wow this really hits home for me.
    Thanx for your transparency PE – it is both challenging & encouraging at the same time…

  10. The Chiz says:

    Thanks again PE- I’ve been challenged with thinking beyond my salaried income value for a few months now- hopefully following a call to graduate school and a major career shift. It hasn’t been easy- in fact, it’s been pretty shattering in terms of the securities and pillars that I thought I truly wanted. And yet- God’s odd faithfulness has appeared in every turn, in unexpected ways, and with blessings beyond. I’m still in the throes of figuring things out, and still consistently faced with the challenge to trust in God and his faithfulness, but my insecurities are becoming fewer and farther between as I remember and savor the goodness and provision I’ve experienced recently.

  11. the debt slinger says:

    as a pastor/evangelist for the true american god (the $), i can say we evangelical christians are more faithful in building the kingdoms of Chase, Discover, Citibank, Wells Fargo and B of A than we are to the building of the kingdom of God. we aren’t judged by a heavenly credit report for making our tithe on a monthly basis, but we are judged by the earthly gods called FICO, which can make our lives a living hell when we miss a payment. i am a slave to my debts – my car, my house, the meals i ate months ago but charged to my visa, my technology addiction (video games/high def/mp3/stereo/computer/software) – and that is just how the true american god wants us to be – where your addiction is, there is your treasure. the true american god says, be impulsive, serve yourself first, you deserve it, you’ve worked hard for it, you’ve earned it, its priceless, sacrifice your future for the present, you’ll never have this opportunity again, you can pay for it later, what if i never have this chance again. if your heart is truly where your treasure is – we can see it in the high rise bank buildings downtown – the cathedrals of our time – all paid for w/the interest of money we borrow. the almighty dollar says “in god we trust” and we do.

  12. […] [1] faith and money: where is your treasure? « beauty and depravity Eugene Cho hits a home run. Spend 5 minutes and read this. What else can I say? (tags: faith christianity politics finance economy) Bookmark and ShareClose Bookmark and Share This Page Save to Browser Favorites / BookmarksAskbackflipblinklistBlogBookmarkBloglinesBlogMarksBlogsvineBuddyMarksBUMPzee!CiteULikeco.mmentsConnoteadel.icio.usDiggdiigoDotNetKicksDropJackdzoneFacebookFarkFavesFeed Me LinksFriendsitefolkd.comFurlGoogleHuggJamespotJeqqKaboodlekirtsylinkaGoGoLinksMarkerMa.gnoliaMister WongMixxMySpaceMyWebNetvouzNewsvineoneviewOnlyWirePlugIMPropellerRedditRojoSegnaloShoutwireSimpySlashdotSphereSphinnSpurlSquidooStumbleUponTechnoratiThisNextTwitterWebrideWindows LiveWorlds MoviesYahoo!Email This to a FriendCopy HTML:  If you like this then please subscribe to the RSS Feed.Powered by Bookmarkify™ More »Powered by Bookmarkify™ […]

  13. […] engage in Part 2 of the short three part series on Faith and Money.  This and next Sunday, I’ll be teaching from Matthew 25:14-30 and Matthew 6:19-21.  Money […]

  14. Dawn says:

    Such a great subject! This impacts every area of our lives including loving one another. Everything we have belongs ultimately to God. Along with your website that I check every day, I also check out a website/blog by a fellow Christian that has made a committment to whittle his possessions down to 100’things. Check it out.
    http://www.guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge.html

    Keep up the good work! I am part of an organization down in San Diego that is also working at combating extreme poverty. http://www.christiansendingpoverty.org

  15. […] This is Part 4 of the series on Faith and Money.  You can the previous entries here:  [1] Where is Your Treasure, [2] What is Money, and [3] Control or […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

my tweets

  • It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small… instagram.com/p/BK_409Ohzr1/ || 2 hours ago
  • Life has its share of pain but don't get down and cynical. Stay engaged. Self-care. Keep learning and growing. Remain hopeful. Be steadfast. || 7 hours ago
  • The Gospel, not social justice, is our identity as believers but the Gospel compels us to love God/love people incl. work 4 the common good. || 2 days ago
  • Folks often ask me, "What is social justice?" "Social justice" are fancier words for "Give a Damn". || 2 days ago
  • RT @EugeneCho: Just met Edna, a sister-in-Christ. She's 90 years old. She met Jesus when she was 85. You're never too young or too old to f… || 2 days ago
  • Thank you @fullerfyi @KPowellFYI for this important resource about listening, engaging, and discipling young people: churchesgrowingyoung.com || 2 days ago

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,419,261 hits