In one of my favorite books, the main character, Per Hansa, leaves his fishing job in Norway and moves to South Dakota to farm. He becomes successful and rich, like the well-fed Israelites in Chuck’s sermon (see Deuteronomy 8:11-20). And, like us, he enjoys fantasizing about what he’ll do with his money:
Dearest to him of all, and most delectable, was the thought of the royal mansion which he had already erected in his mind. There would be houses for both chickens and pigs, roomy stables…The palace itself would be white, with green cornices; but the big barn would be as red as blood…Wasn’t it going to be great fun! And he and the boys would build it all!
We might chuckle at Per Hansa’s “big” dreams, although they seem harmless – what is wrong with wanting a nice chicken coop?
But there is a problem with Per Hansa’s goals. He thinks he will “build it all” himself, and he forgets God. He is a modern Deuteronomy 8 case.
Are we, too, a modern Deuteronomy 8 case?
C.S. Lewis said that Satan rebelled against God because he enjoyed thinking about himself more than the joys of heaven. We don’t want to be like Satan, but suppose that you or I had a novel written about us, like Per Hansa. What would the fantasies of our thought life look like on the written page? Do we enjoy running over our plans or accomplishments more than running over the delightfulness of God?
The Per Hansa problem is serious because it tests where our greatest delight truly lies. Chuck already talked about the heart side of this in his sermon. Such a deep-seated matter can be hard to tackle, let alone recognize, in our own selves. For this reason, a practical move toward finding the Per Hansa in our hearts is seeking financial accountability. See the attached tool, Initiating Financial Discipleship, for an example of how to make financial accountability a regular part of your relationships in the body.
If you are just tuning in to the Dat Dough Tho Blog series, an outline is available here that includes links to all sermons and postings.
Caroline Clare, Member of Church on Mill