You’ve heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, right? Since his biography came out, everyone is a Bonhoeffer fan. And why shouldn’t they be? He stood against Hitler (the only man everyone agrees deserves to go to Hell) and eventually died fighting the Nazis and spreading the Gospel of Christ.
He’s a cool dude, and his biography is worth picking up.
Besides fighting Nazi’s and being written about, he also wrote a few books. One I’ve been reading recently is called Life Together. It’s a great book that I’d recommend to Christians at any point in their life.
The Bread is God’s
As I was reading the other night, I was really struck by something Bonhoeffer says. I’ll quote him at length:
The Scriptures say, “If any will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thes 3:10), and thus make the receiving of bread strictly dependent upon working for it. But the Scriptures do not say anything about any claim that the working person has upon God for his bread. The work is commanded, indeed, but the bread is God’s free and gracious gift.” (Emphasis mine)
Grace is and always will be the center of the Christian life. We’ve never earned a single thing – not our money, our careers, our families, or even the food we eat.
And yet, our culture and our actions tell a different story. We live the kind of story that says, “I worked hard and I earned this.” God’s story doesn’t work that way. Bonhoeffer fearlessly reminds the reader that God owes us nothing. That while you and I are commanded to work, we are not guaranteed rewards for that work. God does not promise to take care of you if you work hard. You can’t earn anything.
That goes double for other areas of success like family and personal development. God has no obligation to reward us for the work we do.
And yet, He does.
He openly feeds the hungry; has given readers of this website untold wealth that allows us to do things like own and drive cars, live in houses, surf the internet, and never go hungry for more than a few hours.
And while I’ve never deserved even the scraps from his table, he continues to provide for my needs (and most of my wants).
After reading that quote, I’ve started praying over meals again. I’ve been thanking God for the food He gives so freely. Yes, I work hard, but I don’t really earn any of the money I receive from my labors. It is God who earns it and who gives it to me. It is Him who offers me the money to feed my family, pay my bills, and enjoy the wonders of this life.
It is a gift, not a right. And It’s something I’m learning to appreciate.
Do you earn your money, or is it a gift from God? Are how you feel and how you think about this in conflict?
Alex Humphrey is a personal finance writer and coach at EntrepreLife a personal finance blog that teaches easy ways to dominate money by dropping debt, investing well, and saving for the things you love to do. When he’s not blogging he leads a youth group, spends time with his wife, and figures out new ways to teach people personal finances. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the EntrepreLife mailing list.