second block also needs careful attention,
so that ideally the entire surface touches
the foundation block and the weight of
the second one can rest completely on it.
Your capacity to build a tower with
many blocks is completely dependent on
your skill in building a strong foundation.
To ignore that fundamental reality is to
have a collection of wooden blocks all
over the floor and definitely not piled into
a tower characterized by stability.
Imagine your life as three wooden
blocks. One is called being, one is called
doing and one is called having. Your task
is to build a tower.
• Which block is first?
• Which one is second?
• Which is third?
• Will your tower be stable?
It seems to me there are four types of
builders. The Sloppy Builder lacks self-reflection and biblical direction. They seek
to live life with no coherence between
being, doing and having. An integrated approach to money and possessions is
missing. There is no substantive foundation
that will stand the test of time and eternity.
The Hyperactive Builder is absorbed
with doing to such a degree that activity
and performance form the essence of
who they are. Money and possessions
may be the outcome of all the doing –
although that’s not guaranteed – but who
God is and their own being are treated as
Rod Wilson is the former president of Regent
College, and now works with a number of
organizations including A Rocha International. His new
book, co-authored with Peter Harris, Keeping Faith in
Fundraising, will be released by Eerdmans in 2016.
Q/When you read Scripture, do you see the different emphasis
on who you are, what you do and what
Q/How would you describe the futility of pursuing a life of having
from observing yourself or others?
Q/Can you summarize the qualities of the triune God in terms of
who He is without first referencing
what He does? Try!
Q/How do you know when you have arrived at the place
where you do too much and have too
much? Where possessing has become
The Greedy Builder worships at the
altar of having money and in the process
has massively divided affections and lives
a life of idolatry. Being and doing become
part of having to such a degree that their
value and wellbeing are measured in financial terms, rather than in relationship
The Worshipful Builder knows that
self-identity and God’s identity are fundamental for both doing and having. Doing
and having are immersed in grace and
gratitude. This builder becomes focused
on generosity and giving, rather than
craving and consuming.
To have, to do, to be
I wonder if more reflection around having,
doing and being would help us penetrate
the confusion around money.
What would happen if we moved away
from a disintegrated and compartmentalized focus on issues like money, sex,
power, relationships and the like – which
we are so inclined to do in our churches
– and tried to integrate these legitimate
concerns into an understanding of who
God is and who we are?
What if we asked ourselves if accumulating kudos for our excessive activity
blurs us to the importance of undergirding
our behaviour with a solid identity rooted
in rich soil?
If more of us paid careful attention to
the real nature of identity and essence,
and stopped linking who we are with what
we have or do not have, I wonder if the
unbridled consumerism of contemporary
Western culture would lessen?
Perhaps the real answer to the idolatry
of greed and the attendant coveting that
joins it is a posture of generosity where
the other is blessed as a result of what I
I wonder if we need to ponder anew the
example of Jesus who “though he was
rich, yet for your sakes he became poor”
( 2 Corinthians 8: 9). I wonder. /FT
“Now, it so happens that our culture – or lack of it,
for our culture is in a state of flux and crisis – places
a high value on materialism, and, by extension,
greed. Our culture’s emphasis on greed is such
that people have become immune to satisfaction.
Having acquired one thing, they are immediately
ready to desire the next thing that might suggest
itself. Today, the object of desire is no longer
satisfaction, but desire itself.”
– NEEL BURTON, HEAVEN AND HELL (ACHERON PRESS, 2015)
Q/British psychiatrist Neel Burton links materialism, greed, satisfaction and desire. To what degree has the desire for having
money or things become so dominant that you no longer experience true
satisfaction in their acquisition?