*This post is part of a synchroblog on the subject “Money and the Church”. So, sorry if some of this material sounds familiar. Other blogs on this subject are linked at the end of this post.
Does god want you to be rich? Does he want your best life now? And what is that best life supposed to look like? Does it involve having nice stuff? I don’t know. Probably not.
Based on all possible common evidence, the guy we christians follow (Jesus) had very little possessions if anything. He was recorded to have said, “The son of man (that is, himself) has no place to lay his head.
Yet many Christ followers look at god as a loving father who wants “the best” for his children. How should we define “the best”? Somehow, “the best” for gulag-bound North Korean christians probably doesn’t equate with “the best” for westernized suburbia christians. Just a guess.
Twice recorded in Luke, Jesus sends out his followers to share the good news to neighboring towns. And both times, he instructs them to bring nothing: no extra clothes and no money. I suspect this is partially because money (or money-making devices) combined with the good news is a terrible testimony to the world.
Kind of like, hey...is this god/faith thing real or are we a bunch of charlatans?
The people who don’t follow Christ can’t take our message seriously if we’re consumed with trying to make a buck from this message in any way.
George Carlin, the least quoted person in church, once did a comedy schtick that mocked people who believed in “an invisible guy in the clouds that watches your every move. He demands you follow his ten rules, and if you break just one, it’s eternal torment in hell for you baby. Oh, and by the way...God loves you”. The crowd roared. And then George added:
“Oh yeah, by the way...this god, he needs MONEY. Lots and lots of MONEY.” More screams of laughter. “He sees and knows your every move, but this god can’t seem to manage his damn money. So he needs yours”.
What a sad message to those non-believers that we christians follow a guy who fed 5000 people with some kid’s lunch, yet we refuse to start up a church, ministry, or whatever the lord tells us to do...until “you pledge $50 a month in support”.
Uncle George (that is, 1800’s British orphanage operator George Muller, not Carlin) is one of the few missionaries who refused to advertise his needs to people. He went straight to the father and to no other with his needs. Through days, months, sometimes years of waiting, the lord always provided just as need arrived. The waiting can be grueling.
Waiting is a difficult concept when we bow to the god of convenience. This false god has the most prominent pedestal in American culture and has many followers.
But the non-believers of his day witnessed Uncle George's faith and actions, who never performed a show for money. And many were turned to this loving god through his examples.
Money is not a bad thing. It is a resource that can make stuff happen sometimes. Good stuff. Like feeding and sheltering people, research towards disease elimination, paying daily bills, or whatever.
Money-making combined with gospel telling, extravagant and or wasteful living, and placing personal comforts over human suffering is a terrible testimony to the rest of the world.
Let god’s provision be the testimony, not the manipulation game towards others.
**special thanks to the freelance writer of Boston for the link on the mansion photo...
The Check That Controls at Igneous Quill
Pushing The Camel: Why there might be more rich people in Heaven than in your local Church at Fernando's desk
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz at Hello Said Jenelle
Zaque at Johnny Beloved
Walking with the Camels at Calacirian
Greed and Bitterness: Why Nobody's Got it Right About Money and The Church at Phil Wyman's Square No More
Kirk Bartha at Theocity
Money and the Church: A Fulltime Story at The Pursuit
But I Gave at Church at The Assembling of the Church
Moving Out of Jesus Neighborhood at Be the Revolution
Money and the Church: why the big fuss? at Mike's Musings
Coffee Hour Morality at One Hand Clapping
Bling Bling in the Holy of Holies at In Reba's World
Magazinial Outreach at Decompressing Faith
Money's too tight to mention at Out of the Cocoon
Bullshit at The Agent B Files
The Bourgeois Elephant in the Missional/Emergent Living Room at Headspace
When the Church Gives at Payneful Memories
Who, or What, Do You Worship at at Charis Shalom
Greed at Hollow Again
Silver and Gold Have We - Oops! at Subversive Influence