Monday, August 20, 2007

john wesley

John Wesley, the 18th centurey leader of the Methodist movement, had a few things to say about how much a Christian should give. He said that Christians should give away all but the "plain necessaries of life" -- that is, plain, wholesome food, clean clothes and enough to carry on one's business.
Wesley stated that capital need not be given away but that all income should be given to the poor after bare necessities are met.
"Any 'Christian' who takes for himself anything more than the plain necessaries of life," Wesley insisted, "lives in an open, habitual denial of the Lord."
"If I leave behind me ten pounds," he once wrote, "you and all mankind bear witness against me that I lived and died a thief and a robber."
Do you think Wesley goes too far?


Justin said...

I think it gets kinda dicey when we start trying to determine the necessities of life.

Wesley says " plain, wholesome food, clean clothes and enough to carry on one's business."

Why clean clothes? Couldn't you suffice with dirty? How much plain food is enough? Three squares a day? or maybe just two?

I think when we start setting limits on what other people can have and still be Christians, it becomes a game of "whatever I have is ok, but anyone with more than me has too much"

Zane said...

Good point Justin! "Enough" is a very relative and subjective concept, and a judgemental attitude just gets things moving in a negative direction. So does beating oneself up over every little expense.

I'm always encouraged by the positive approach to the same issue: finding greater contentment in simple blessings, taking pressure off oneself to keep up with the Joneses, and experiencing just how much joy and comfort our extra time and money can bring to people's lives. That's what gets me fired up!

Of course, this is all coming from a guy who would happily trade a bottle of fine wine for a 2 liter of Dr. Thunder...


Anonymous said...

However, I do think that it's often necessary to swing the pendulum to the other extreme, in order to eventually settle in the middle. If I was a unaware, consumptive American not thinking about the fact that what I keep, keeps others from having, then maybe I should go to the other extreme of thinking about every exspense for a while and not buying anything in order to "detox" myself from my previous way of life. After the detox, I can settle into a reasonable living that considers others before myself in regards to my money and behaviors but doesn't make simplicity my new legalistic obsession.