My Radical To-Do List
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.
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:
- Pray for the entire world.
- Read through the entire Word.
- Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
- Spend your time in another context.
- Commit your life to a multiplying community.
My Personal To-Do List
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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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**).
- 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.
- 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.