CSFF Blog Tour – Lost Mission by Athol Dickson, Day 2

Yesterday was a great start for the CSFF Blog Tour featuring Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. In discussing the obedience theme touched on in the book, I brushed against the second major theme, so I think I’ll go ahead and begin discussion of it today, saving my review for tomorrow.

The theme I’m referring to is wealth and the Christian. Athol explored the subject from two angles—Christians who had an abundance and Christians in need.

One group, the wealthy gringos living in Blanco Beach, had cushy church facilities and were blind to the needs of the poor. As a body, they funded projects, but as individuals they didn’t consider how their decisions affected actual people. They seemed callous to others, not loving. The church leaders operated their organization more like a business than a ministry, and they personally lived opulent lives while nearby children died for lack of medicine.

At best, the people in this group were clueless Christians. At worst, they were nominal Christians living Pharisaical lives and corrupting the true church in the process.

In the other group were the poor Mexican workers and their self-sacrificing white young pastor. These were people living in Wilson City who worked hard, sent money back to Mexico, lived simply, and suffered great need. They prayed for what they lacked, but God didn’t intervene to change their circumstances. So their pastor did. In the face of his people’s suffering, and the unseemly wealth of the uncaring, close-fisted Christians in a position to help, he determined to play Robin Hood.

Within the pages of Lost Mission we find Christians loving money, using money to accomplish an evil purpose, stealing money to accomplish a greater good, giving money away generously, investing money, and withholding money.

One of the things I like about this book is that no one—author or character—says, Pastor, you should stop stealing. Or, Wealthy tycoon, you should love your neighbor and give to the poor. Rather, through the actions of the characters and the events of the story, change occurs and the characters themselves come to realize their weaknesses, sins, mistakes.

The reader, meanwhile, is left to make of it all what he wishes. As I often say here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, we need to read with discernment. A book like Lost Mission requires that of us.

Possibly some cheered when Tucker, the young pastor, took the money to buy medicine for the critically ill child. Certainly any caring person would feel for the mother, the friend, the pastor who stood by helplessly as the little girl grew worse and worse. But discernment for the Christian means to look into God’s Word and see what our Heavenly Father says about life. Are the characters reflecting Biblical standards? Do they come to agree with the Bible at some point?

The Bible actually has a lot to say about the money issue. Here are a few key principles:

  • serving God and money at the same time is impossible
  • generous giving isn’t about how much but how self-sacrificially a person gives (see the story about the widow’s mite)
  • the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil
  • God provides abundantly beyond what we ask or think
  • the goal should be contentment, whether in plenty or in want
  • giving should be cheerful
  • stealing is against God’s law
  • giving is a function of loving our neighbor (see the story of the Good Samaritan)
  • storing up treasure in heaven is profitable
  • storing up treasure on earth may lead to losing it (James 5:1)
  • building a bigger barn to keep all our stuff is foolish

I’m sure there are others, but this sampling gives us enough to hold up as a standard by which to measure the actions and attitudes of the characters in Lost Mission.

For those of you who have read the book, here’s a question:

And now, take a look at yesterday’s post and check out what the other bloggers on the tour are saying about *Lost Mission.

*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 10:29 am  Comments (6)  
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6 Comments

  1. Amen, Becky! Boy, don’t we all struggle with how to keep our money (or lack of money) in its place?

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  2. I’m VERY interested to see the results of your poll, Becky. And what a fabulous take on the story.

    Just this morning I was thinking about “You cannot serve both God and money” in the context of asking myself why I write. Is it to put food on the table, or to serve the Lord? That led to the question, if it’s not possible to serve both God and money, is it possible to write for both of those reasons?

    It’s cool that you’ve been thinking about similar questions due to reading LOST MISSION.

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  3. I have not read the book yet, but it seems to bring up some interesting issues. One thing I think all of us can forget sometimes when facing difficult circumstances (no money, illness, seeing other Christians not acting like Christians) is that God is still in control. But many times when we don’t think we see God working, we take it upon ourselves to take up his role.

    Instead, what we need to do is be on our knees praying, then walk in faith that God knows the entire story of our lives and trust him to act in the way that fits HIS plan (not ours). Sometimes that plan entails a loved one dying when we hoped he/she would live, sometimes that means no income or job for months because God sees something in our future that we don’t.

    Faith is a scary thing, but our God is big enough to handle everything in life. I love that nothing catches God by surprise 🙂

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  4. Wow, Rebecca thi post is amazing. I really want to get this book 🙂

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  5. I’m interested to see the results as well, Athol. I hope more of the tour people who read the book will stop by and give their opinion.

    Krysti, KM, thanks for your feedback. The book is certainly thought-provoking—not exactly light reading. 😉

    Morgan, I love your perspective. In fact I’m going to touch on some of what you said in my review today. Guess I’d better get started! 😀

    Becky

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  6. Becky, I didn’t get to read or review this book, checked email too late, but… from all the reviews I’ve read, it seems that Athol has definitely hit a nerve.

    We seem to be a society that thinks the ends do justify the means, and that as long as we give monetarily, then we get a “thumbs up” from God. How little we know God. That is from a corporate view.

    From an individual view, I think it is so sad that we have such a low esteem of society. We’ve allowed the pagans to invade our thought process (see Mike’s post at deComposed). It’s getting so we must have a reality check before we get dressed!

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