I find that nothing is quite as humbling as a garage sale. At our neighbors’ request last fall, we hosted a garage sale, and, as I have after every garage sale I’ve ever held, I vowed to never hold another one. We spent about $20 on signs. And we made…$27.
While the garage sale was a financial bust, it did serve to remind me of something: I have too much junk.
I’m no hoarder, and I clean house regularly, but nevertheless, I’ve accumulated plenty of stuff over my 43 years. Coming off of Christmas this year, Courtney and I promised each other not to buy anything other than gas and groceries for the month of January. I’ve found it freeing to have that commitment.
Adam Hamilton challenges the same tendencies toward too much stuff in his book, Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity. Now, I tend to be skeptical of pastors who put themselves forward as experts in areas other than church life; in marriage, for instance. It usually doesn’t turn out well.
Hamilton, pastor of a Methodist mega-church, has written a commonsense guide that attempts to put biblical wisdom — and the idea of tithing — at the forefront of our lives.
I spend some time on this blog discussing how difficult (impossible?) it is to put the exhortations of an ancient book into practice. It’s true with sexuality, and it’s true with finances. The ancient tithe in Israel was basically a tax, couched in theological terms. Nevertheless, I appreciate the way that Hamilton approaches the tithe: non-legalistically, yet primary to the Christian’s financial life.
This book is not radical in its suggestions. Adam Hamilton is not Shane Claiborne. But what that means is that the very practical suggestions in the book are actually applicable to most people. In fact, this book is tailor-made for group use in churches.