Put Your Money Where Their Mouth Is
Yesterday I had a very provoking conversation with a man I respect about our Journeys of Faith, and what we believe ‘Being a Christian’ means. Eventually, we talked about money, offerings, the principal of tithing and where that money goes. We also talked about Western Christianity not fully understanding what suffering was as opposed to people living in what we call third world countries and how suffering has always made Christianity thrive.
Recently I’ve struggled internally to decide what to do with my money. This is a controversially topic I realize…mess with peoples money and you’ve opened a can of worms…yet, Jesus hit this topic head on in many examples, and it leaves me wondering, Why didn’t we listen?
I recently wrote an article called Pure Religion and undefiled before God and in it discovered that the second most important commandment in our Christian walk to Loving God, was loving our neighbor. We know that ‘loving’ isn’t simply having heart felt affection, but its truly seeing the need in others and giving of yourself to help fulfill that need. As a matter of fact, in James 1:27 Scripture defined that love as “visit and look after the fatherless and widows in their distress – help provide for their needs”.
To stress how vitally important this was to God, we find the most pointed example in Matthew 25:31-46. Matthew 25 is an entire chapter about the Final Judgement… Think about that, if you had to write a blog article today about the Final Judgment, what topics would you cover? Jesus talked about the Wise Virgins (being prepared and ready for His coming), the Parable of Talents (using your God given gifts for His Kingdom) … and you nailed it, feeding, clothing and sheltering the needy.
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. ” – Matthew 25:35,36 KJV
The next verse, says, “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying Lord, when did we do these things?” (Paraphrased) Jesus was talking to the righteous, the people that were doing this Christian thing right! They were confused, they knew they had never given Jesus clothes, or food, or visited him in Prison. They stood before the King of Kings confused, unsure what to say. And our Lord made clear our purpose in our Journey of Faith;
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” – Matthew 25:40, KJV
Before I conclude this, I want to interject something rather pointed; I came from a background of people who disgustingly believe that when Christ said “unto one of the least of these my brethren” He (Christ) meant that this level of Charity was only for people in their Church. When Christ said “love thy neighbor“, they believed that applied only to people in the pews next to you. They believed only people in their Church were worthy of being called Brother, or Sister. They (that Church) taught that giving to any Charity was wrong, ESPECIALLY if you dipped into the Tithes and Offerings they demanded of you to do so.
I want to correct that horrendous belief, and again with the words of Jesus. In Luke chapter 8, we find Jesus traveling with the twelve and teaching in the cities and villages he passed through.
“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: ” – Luke 8:4, KJV
By verse 18, the people were thronged around Jesus listening to his teaching and there, His mother and brothers come to him but are unable to due to the mass of people. So the Disciples tell the Lord, “Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.” (v20) and His response should be telling;
“And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” – Luke 8:21, KJV
So let me ask you this; is loving thy neighbor, and the least of His brethren the people sitting on your padded pews, or are they those people of Faith hearing His word, and doing it?
Put Your Money Where Their Mouth Is
Let me conclude with transparency and what is in my heart. For the past several years I have given over $15,000 per year to a Church that has no food banks, gives to no charities, and will only help those within their Church. I am in NO way opposed to helping our own, and during a very dark hour of my past, I was a recipient of such help, though I never asked for it, we were blessed with support and for that I’ll be eternally grateful, but when I look at the example Christ set, I don’t see the commandment to only help those in our little local church.
Furthermore, if all the people in ‘leadership‘ of a church drive BMW’s, live in million dollar homes, preach ‘hellfire and God’s curse on you’ if you don’t give them 15% of your income and label you rebellious if you ask to see the books to know where the money goes… I have a problem.
I have a problem because we should be helping those widows, fatherless, needy, hungry, cold and tired people. Christ said the righteous did this to the least of these, or the most dirty, stinky, impoverished, helpful and unworthy! Would Christ’s message been so powerful if he setup a small self-righteous camp and only fed and spoke to the clean, affluent, non-diseased, perfumed and pompous? Nay, I think Christ made it clear what he thought about the puffed up.
So my heart is this; To put my money where their mouth is. I’m not funding any more BMW’s, Armani suits, $1,000,000 homes. No more wealthy preachers, $5,000,000 church buildings with steeples. No more riches and glory, just the hungry and helpless. I’m not trying to pick on anyone, but think and ask yourself, how many backpacks, meals, shoes, coats, blankets, bottles of water, meal cards at school could all the money buy? And more importantly, let’s ask, would Jesus be more pleased with big buildings, LED lights and preachers driving the best cars, or a lot of the least of these being loved, fed, cherished, praised, lifted up and support?
Food for thought.