Giving and Generosity
Living in the church 9
“Follow the money!” I found an interesting scripture.
Ecclesiastes 10:19, “Money is the answer for everything.”
When we ask why all TV preachers sound the same. Is Ecclesiastes the answer?
When we ask why organized religion works the way it does. Is Ecclesiastes the answer?
When we ask ourselves how do I know what my heart really wants. Is Ecclesiastes the answer?
In human terms, money is the answer for everything. How you view it and how you use it will show you what you understand about Father’s work in your life.
Important questions we have about relational church life are, “What do you think about tithing?” and “What do we do with children?” Admittedly I handle financial matters with great care since nothing has been more abused among God’s people in our day.
Usually those who speak about it do so only to get their hands on more of it for themselves.
Let me say this at the beginning: There is no financial crisis here, and please don’t send me any contributions because you think this is a veiled appeal to do so. It is not, and if that is hard for you to believe, please feel free not to read any further.
So much of what has been said in this area either burdens people with guilt or bribes them with false promises of God giving them more money in return.
I’ll risk being misunderstood because I want you to discover the joy and freedom of seeing Father’s hand in your giving just as much as any other area of your life.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers or to be complete on this subject, but I do like to share with you where the journey has led me in this area.
Jesus and Money
Jesus spoke about money as much as he spoke about anything except relating to his Father.
He said nothing reveals our affections more, than that which we compile as treasure, or that which we freely share at God’s bidding.
Reading the Gospels reveals that he talked about it more than he talked about church, worship or even prayer. He warned us not to judge God’s fairness or generosity by it, and made it clear that the abundant life had nothing to do with the amount of money or possessions we have, but the simplicity of living in the freedom of his righteousness, the rest of his peace and the fullness of his joy.
The pursuit of money and the worries it creates has the capacity to choke out the life of the kingdom in any of his followers. It is better to give it away to the poor than let it own your heart.
He also said that wise hearts would use money as a tool for God’s purpose in the world. It can open doors and minister to the needs of many, when it doesn’t own you. Use it responsively to Him and it can be a blessing to you and others. Hoard it and its promise quickly turns into a cage for a darkened heart.
With capacity for such good or such evil, how does he want us to handle our money?