Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Everybody Ought to Know About Religion

Say you've got a rich uncle.  You don't know him that well, but you know him well enough to know he's got to die someday and leave all that money to somebody.  You're no fool...

Scenario #1
You don't know if your uncle is going to give you the money.  So you start calling him once a week. You show up at his place now and again to help out. You take a money management course to prove you are trustworthy.

Scenario #2
Your uncle actually tells you that you'll get millions of dollars when he dies, it is written into the will, and it is guaranteed to happen.  So you start calling him once a week.  You start showing up at his place now and again to help out.  You take a money management course so that you are well prepared for your inheritance.

Two scenarios. Two people who look very similar on the surface. What is the difference? Motivation.
In the first scenario you're motivated by fear of not getting the money. But in the second scenario you're motivated by joy and gratitude.

There is a radical difference between religion and the gospel.  When religion is your default operating mode you are doing all of the "right" things out of fear that you won't get blessed or get into heaven.  When you live out the gospel you know that blessing, heaven, and (more importantly) God himself are already yours, so you can live out of joy and generosity.

Two people.  Look the same on the outside. Both pray. Both attend church. Both give.  But two radically different motivations.

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