Three Dollars of God Please

I came across this poem recently – I think I saw it in a book by Charles Swindoll but could not find it there for the life of me so looked it up on the Net – and wanted to share it with you this morning as the basis of what we should talk about.

Three Dollars Worth of God

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

My first thought when I read this was, “EXACTLY!” Isn’t that exactly how Christians act? We want all the benefits of the title “Christian” but want nothing to do with any of the sacrifices that would come with more than just a small portion on our plate. Study after study shows that there is little difference between the Christian and the non-believer in the way we act when it comes to divorce, pornography, domestic violence, charity, volunteerism, or basically any other category you want to pick. The reason? For the most part we’re $3 Christians.

The key line in the poem is this: I want ecstasy, not transformation.

Let me see if I can rephrase that to drive home the meaning: I want to be happy not Christ-like.

I was sharing with my adult Sunday school class this past weekend that being saved does not necessarily mean you’ve been transformed – there’s a difference. In fact, I would venture to say the majority of saved Christians I know are not transformed but are living their lives as if they have not had a supernatural experience with Jesus, are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, do not see the world through God’s eyes, have not begun living their eternity yet, and are more focused on things of this world than on God’s will in their life, thinking that Christianity is simply about giving money to the poor and being nice to each other.

Transformation is a supernatural event in your life where you begin to see the world through God’s eyes instead of your own by the power of the Holy Spirit and then act in accordance to God’s will based on what you see. Transformation isn’t about reading in the Bible that Jesus tells us to care for the poor so we give money. It’s about seeing the poor the way God sees the poor and feeling the love for them God feels for them and wanting to take care of them the way God wants to. That’s transformation! It’s not following rules and orders from the book. It’s being transformed by the living God in relationship with Him to truly be one with His will!

But there is a price as the poem above expresses. You’ll love people you may now find unlovable. You’ll stand side by side with people doing work you now find beneath you. You will be humbled by people you used to judge. You’ll be a servant instead of being served. Your life of comfort may turn into a life of hardship.

For many $3 is all they’re willing to pay. But for them I ask this simple question: When you die and stand before Jesus (and you will) what are you going to tell him? When Jesus asks you why you didn’t go all in knowing what he expected of you and instead you chose to be a $3 Christian what are you going to say?

Honestly, I’m trying to give it all I have and when I think of that day for myself I’m embarrassed and ashamed of my effort and think I will just weep at how woefully I will have failed. I can’t imagine what it will be like for my Christian friends who aren’t even trying.

I’ll leave you with this. The good news is it’s never too late! Romans 12:2 was written 2,000 years ago to people just like us. Paul writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will. “

Don’t be a $3 Christian. Stop conforming to the pattern of this world! Make God and His ways your priority! Allow God to transform your life – go all in!

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