Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

Let’s Get Radical, Part II

Posted by flyingbk on 09/23/2010

First, here’s a link worth reading about how Christians LOVE to take theological shots at one another. I never understood the desire of other believers to throw snowballs at bigshots such as Rick Warren. To me, it ‘s a manifest sign of spiritual immaturity, and I’m one of those who thinks that grace can sometimes be overemphasized at the expense of truth. You will most likely nod your head at the last few pargraphs. Now, back to Radical.

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Throughout the book, Platt declares war. War on materialism, war on easy Christian living. And he fully recognizes that it is a war that never ends while we’re on earth; there is a constant battle to resist temptation to have more luxuries and acquire more stuff. And let’s face it, often times we lose heart and don’t want to fight anymore, especially when we’re eying that awesome new electronics gadget or that new trendy line of designer clothing.

But Platt writes: The way we use our money is a barometer of our present spiritual condition. Our neglect of the poor illustrates much about where our hearts lie. But even more than that, the way we use our money is an indicator of our eternal destination. The mark of Christ followers is that their hearts are in heaven and their treasures are spent there.

After all, Jesus did say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV). Therefore, we ought to store up treasures in heaven. But then the question arises, is it really worth it? We all know the ‘right’ answer, but this book illuminates that if we struggle a lot with this issue, we’ve been deceived by the lure of living a comfortable life. Jesus makes it clear to his disciples that there is supposed to be physical and material discomfort (even unto death) if one is to be fully devoted to him. But God ensure our security, and more importantly, He will be more glorified through us.

Platt does dole out statistics on poverty. Here are a few: More than a billion people live and die in desperate poverty. They attempt to survive on less than a dollar per day. Close to two billion others live on less than two dollars per day. That’s nearly half the world struggling today to find food, water, and shelter with the same amount of money I spend on French fries for lunch.

But I am thankful that he does not throw these stats in your face nor does he deploy them as scare tactics; he is simply highlighting the utter need out there, and nudging us to quit ignoring the plight of many in the world.

Near the end of the book, Platt introduces the radical experiment, a simple fivefold plan for the believer to employ. You can read more about it at the book’s website.

1) pray for the entire world (i.e. using Operation World)
2) read through the entire Word
3) sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
4) spend your time in another context (i.e. one week on missions per year)
5) commit your life to a multiplying community (b/c you need people to help you!)

I love what Platt writes after he’s done making his second point. He anticipates that the reader will complain that the first two don’t appear so revolutionaryl. But for many Christians, actually reading the whole Bible would be quite radical for them! He writes: In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I’m proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with an extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history. Amen!!

I am working on implementing his plan in my own life. I re-started a year-long Bible-reading plan one week ago, and I’m definitely going to plan a mission trip (I haven’t been on one since 1999, and that is FAR too long).

Platt challenges us to be like John Wesley, who identified a modest level of expenses that he was going to live on every year while giving away the rest. At one point, Wesley made the equivalent of about $160K a year, but he kept living on $20K; therefore, he gave away $140K that year.

You cannot read this book without then taking a hard look at your finances are spent. I’ll be moving down to Virginia in 12 days and for the first time in my life, I’ll be living all alone and furnishing my own place. Once I get settled, I plan on taking a hard look at how I use my money. And the main question I will ask is not, “How much can I save?” or “What else can I afford?” Rather, the question will be, “How much can I give? And can I give more?” May this be the main question when it comes to each of our finances at all times!

In conclusion, this is a book that comes along at an important time in our excess-laden nation. I heartily recommend it. It’s time for all of us in the church to rise up and fight against materialism, and get radical!

Next week, a look at The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream, one of the most poignant books I’ve ever read.

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One Response to “Let’s Get Radical, Part II”

  1. […] Radical by David Platt. This book was also reviewed by me (in two parts). Here’s Part I and Part II. This is definitely one of those books that I need to read over and apply in my life. If you are a […]

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