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The Elephant and the Driver

There is an elephant inside you, and a driver. The elephant is your will. Your will is that part of your internal being that gets things done. It is powerful and driven by desires that are basic and usually not fully formed or explored.

The Christian spiritual tradition has always warned us about desires. They are unruly and often distorted. I want to eat well and be healthy to live my life more productively, but I want cinnamon rolls. At the same time, without desire, nothing gets done. We have to direct our desires, or they’ll run amuck in the villages of our lives.

The little driver on top of the elephant is the mind. I first ran into this image from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. They point out that little driver is not powerful in himself; he makes decisions but needs desire and will to see things through. We have to decide in the mind, but then we also need to motivate the will. 

They also would tell you to mark the path and clear obstacles if you really want more reliable decisions. 

So why am I telling you this? Because as we enter into the season of stewardship, we will tell you stories to motivate you and will clear the path before you, giving you cards and online options to pledge, but you have to decide.

I believe in the tithe as a marker for giving, 10% of income off the top for God. Now, that is not a law for the church, though sometimes we make it into one. And people get uncomfortable when we talk specifics, but the Bible uses the tithe to talk about how the priests in Israel were supported; what was set aside for offerings to God from crops and profits. 

Your mind, and mine, are guiding elephants, powerful emotions and desires that can easily pull us in unintended directions. But one of the most important things you can do in life, not just in church stewardship but in life stewardship, is to stop and calm down the elephant. Reconnect to the whole self, body, mind, will, and spirit, and bring yourself before God.

Pray as we enter in to this time of stewardship that we would hear God’s word for us together, have the mind of Christ, and the desires to see God’s work done through Christ Church of the Ascension.

-daniel+