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06 July 2012

When Necessary, Use Money

I think I'd better clarify some things about yesterday's post, "Would Jesus Contribute?" It may sound like I'm opining that Christians should be giving more money to organizations or efforts that I consider to be Christ-honoring and much less to "evil" things like presidential campaigns.

That's not what I meant to convey (but if it's a conviction of yours you should act on it). I don't believe that donating funds to a campaign is inherently bad. I don't think I'm better than you if you've never given a dime to the Downtown Rescue Mission, and I don't even think you're a terrible Christian if that's the case. I intended to illustrate that our priorities as a nation just might be out of whack, and the direction our money flows could be a key indicator of that.

Jesus and the apostles gave to poor people from a pool of money they collected, and Judas was their treasurer (see John 12:5-6 and 13:29). So while there may be a Biblical basis for stating that Jesus likely would've been more likely to give money to a rescue mission rather than a political coup effort (I can't think of a better comparison at the moment; the political landscape of the middle east was... well, a bit different from that of modern America), my guess is that Jesus would've actually been at the rescue mission rather than simply donating money to it.

This also touches on one of the serious issues I have with modern church culture. The typical church atmosphere today is such that attendees are conditioned to put money into an offering plate and consider this to be a pretty decent way to spread the Gospel (you know, it will grow the size of the church so more people will come, hear the preacher preach, and get saved -- which is not a Biblical concept). Whether intended or not, this method of helping, if it is the primary focus, keeps the average church-attender from actually meeting and connecting to needy people and it tells him that money is his best gift or good deed. And it keeps the business end of the church above water so that the process can be repeated over and over.

While I'm not condemning all churches that see fit to sink their funds into a state-of-the-art building, frankly, it makes me sick to learn of a church raising, say, $5 million and pouring it into a new facility when they've never lifted a collective finger to help to the needy in their own community or the organization a few miles down the road that's furnishing meals, clothes, and blankets to those who are going without. This is utterly appalling.

Again, my intent yesterday was not to say that Christians should be giving more money to such-and-such or less money to this-and-the-other. To modify a saying that's most frequently attributed to Francis of Assisi -- "Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words" -- I believe that our "contribution" should be a lifestyle of sacrifice for others, for the sake and in the name of Jesus Christ. When necessary, use money.


Connie said...

Excellent blog.

Ralph said...

Totally agree with you Dean. Its a matter of priorities.

A pastor said once that he didn't care what someone said was most important in his life, he could tell what really was most important by looking at his day planner and check book.

Today, in our society, our day planners and checkbooks show that we put much more priority on politics than God.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with supporting a political cause. But, the amounts show a lack of balance.

Dean Lusk said...

Thanks, Connie and Ralph.

Ralph, I'm guessing you meant to talk about checkbooks and a lack of "balance" in the same thought? Nice.

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