My Radical To-Do List

Cover of "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith...

Cover via Amazon

I didn’t read Radical (by David Platt) until after we moved to Allendale. So, instead of this book being the motivation for us making a “radical” change in life, it has been more confirmatory.

But even though God has used this book to encourage me in His ministry here, it has also challenged a lot of my thinking — to help me see a bigger vision for God’s kingdom, for Allendale, and for myself. For example, it has helped me think through what our ultimate purpose is in Allendale.

The Experiment

In the last chapter of his book, Platt offers the reader an opportunity to do an experiment. As a former chemist, the word “experiment” is an immediate catch for me.

I’m always up to test a new theory. “What’s the worst that could happen?” became a main motto when I was a children’s pastor. Yes, it may get you in trouble at times, but experiments create the freedom to explore bigger opportunities.

Here are the five components of this 1-year challenge:

  1. Pray for the entire world.
  2. Read through the entire Word.
  3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
  4. Spend your time in another context.
  5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.

My Personal To-Do List

image courtesy of john.schultz via flickr

Each person will need to critically evaluate how these components may apply to their lives. But after reading this book, I don’t think any of these ideas can be casually dismissed.

Here are my thoughts.

  1. Pray for the entire world.  This component seems daunting and vague, but with over 4.5 billion unsaved people, and more than 1 billion people in starvation, we have to start somewhere. I plan to pray in general for God to send workers into the world to spread the Gospel (Matthew 9:36-38), and as a family we will use the recommended resource Operation World as specific prayer guide (using the 60 day prayer guide over the next 60 weeks — 1 country per week).
  2. Read through the entire Word.  Two or three times in the past, I’ve read through the entire Bible in a year. It’s a great way to get an overview and focus on the bigger picture, but I usually find it overwhelming, and it leaves little room for any other studying I may want to do. Recently, I’ve been stretching out a 1-year plans to 3 years. I will continue to do this, and may consider doing a 2-year plan.
  3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.  This one is a little tricky for us now, since a large portion of our income is from financial support through donations. But I know that I need to grown in my trust in God. While we do not consider ourselves to live lavish lifestyles, we are richer than most people in the world. We have no debt (outside of our mortgage), but where I struggle is the desire to put more into savings. Over the next year, I will give away a portion of our money that we have allotted in long-term savings. Any suggestions will be accepted (**see note below**).
  4. Spend your time in another context.  Yeah, we’re pretty much doing this now in Allendale. But maybe there is something else that God has in store for our family. At the least, we should be praying that we would be open to whatever God has for us in the future.
  5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.  As Christ-followers, we need to be in the process of making disciples. We need to be committed and active members of a local church. Platt writes, “We need community in order to follow Christ radically. I am convinced that one reason many of us have not taken radical steps . . . is because we fear isolation.” We are not alone in living life radically.

What about you? Have you read Radical? Have you done, or will you do, this experiment?

** I realize that this may be a touchy subject, especially among our financial supporters. For months, I have wrestled with these questions, “What will they think about us giving away some of the money they have given us?” and “If we do give, how much should it be? Does it need to be a full tithe?” I was praying about this the other week, and then continued my reading through the book of Numbers. I was struck by 18:26, where the Levites are commanded to tithe from the tithes they receive. While I may be taking this out of context, I felt like God was directing me to trust Him with giving 10%. Again, I welcome any counsel or concerns about this topic.

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8 responses to “My Radical To-Do List”

  1. Beth Becker McMeekin says :

    I just started reading Radical last weekend. I’m not far into it, but already I feel uncomfortable. That’s a good thing.

    As far as you giving away the money donated to your family, I see it like this: People who give to you are following God’s command to give HIS money to aid your family. You are following God’s command to use it for His kingdom. It’s not our money; it’s God’s. We just move it around for Him. If I follow His call to give to you, and you follow God’s call to move it somewhere else, then who am I to question where God wants His money directed?

    • joeyespinosa says :

      As far as uncomfortable, I just saw this on a college classmate’s FB status (he’s a pastor now in Pickens): “A pastor’s job is to comfort to the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable.” Seems like what Jesus did, right?

      Thanks for your insight on the money issue. That is a great perspective, that it’s God’s money.

  2. Emily Mcgowan says :

    thanks for the post Joey. Just to throw in my thoughts( that have no theological basis in all honesty), if you are interested, I think it is great for you to give in this way and encourage and support you in doing just that! The money you bring in, rather it be through financial support or a typical salary, is still money that God blesses you with and I think it honors God in a wonderful way.

    Always encouraged and often challenged by your posts. Thanks!!

    Much love to the whole family!

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Thanks, Emily. And don’t shortchange your theological understanding. I think that this insight is Biblical, but it’s so ingrained in you that you don’t even think twice about it.

      Thanks for your encourage. Hope to see your family soon, too!

  3. Bill Moore says :

    Great post Joey. However, I suggest that people read Radical with caution as your life, like the house on the book cover, will be flipped upside down. Christians in the United States have co-opted the American Dream and twisted it into some sort of hybrid faith. Radical is a wake up call to people of faith and a solid study on what it really means to follow Jesus.

  4. Rob says :

    Joey, don’t deny yourself the blessing of giving! It’s as much a key part of your faith just as it is your donors.

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