I have lost count of how many times I have gone to a service at church and at some point the pastor had asked for money.
Now let me preface this by saying, I totally, 100%, completely agree that we need to give God back what is His. After all, everything we have is from Him.
“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord‘s; it is holy to the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Now, with that said, my problem isn’t the asking for money. It’s what is being done with it.
Here are a few examples that are immediately coming to mind:
A church I was going to a few years ago received a large donation of money from one their members. The donation was large enough to pay for half of a new SUV. The church then footed the rest of the bill and decided to hold a challenge of sorts that throughout the year everyone would be encouraged to read their bible. Every book that you read or verse you memorized earned you an entry in a drawing to win the car at the end of the year. When you look at the surface of the idea, it sounds pretty good. Get the members of the church more involved in reading their bibles and studying God’s word. However, it got me thinking, what else could have been done with that money. Let’s give a ball park figure, an average SUV of that same make and model is approximately $30,000. Can you imagine what that kind of money could do when used for the kingdom of God? I can not even begin to fathom how many people that amount of money could have helped. How many meals that could have provided, how many house repairs that could have fixed, how many lives could have been changed? I do recall that the person who won the car had recently been experiencing car trouble herself, so I do believe that she won for a reason, but I just can’t seem to forget how many people could have benefited from that large sum of money.
Another example I just heard about recently is a church that spent a great deal of money building props that were used one time and then the materials were never used again. Again, what could have been done with that money that could have been used to benefit the community or the world?
Right now there are many churches who are doing the same thing. I am not saying they are all bad. In fact, those very same churches are doing great things for God’s kingdom. Helping members of the community financially and emotionally, sending missionaries to other parts of the world, sending people into the jails to connect with the inmates, the list is endless. There isn’t a shortage of the good they are doing.
However, can you imagine what this world would look like today if the church took a step back and re-evaluated what it means to be the church. I once read a story of a man who sold his house, car, and most of his possessions, went and moved back in with his parents so the majority of his income would go straight back into the kingdom. You might consider that a bit radical, but can you imagine what the world would be like if even half of the people who consider themselves Christian lived a radical life for God? I’m not saying sell everything and move back in with your parents or live out of your car, or anything that you don’t feel God calling you to do. But, if God is calling you to do something, imagine what would happen if you listened and did it.
I was attending a church where nobody on staff was paid a salary, not a one. All the tithes and offerings went to the community and to keeping the church running. How awesome is that? That they are not only able to support their church but also have a major impact on their community, without having the biggest building, the fancy lights, or the huge props that took up the stage. What if more churches followed that example? What if the most important thing was spreading God’s word and sharing His love with others? What if we brought the church back to what it had intended to be? I think there would be a huge shift in what others think of the church and of those who consider themselves Christian. I think the stigma would change, and with that, the world would truly see the love of Christ in the church.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10
I guess, the purpose of this post is to challenge the church, instead of spending money to put back into the church building, why not take it and put it back into God’s creation? Be radical and just wait to be amazed at what God can do with it.