Matthew 6:24 — “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Over the last couple of weeks I have talked about signs that we as the church at large (the organization, not the Church universal) have lost our influence and actually become obsolete. I don’t think this slide away from being effective for the Gospel happened overnight, but one of the most significant signs to me that something has gone terribly wrong is the way that Christians view money and the way they handle their money.
According to a recent study (Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money by Christian Smith and Michael Emerson) “one out of five Christians give nothing … the remaining Christians give, on average, about three percent household income as annual donations to all religious and charitable causes.” As I sit there and consider the weight of this statement it begs us to ask the question does your money serve you or is it your master?
Clearly, according to Jesus either it is a tool used by us or money is an idol that owns us. So if the above study is true, what is happening in the majority of America? I think that it is obvious that the culture of this world has invaded our physical lives and our thought life.
Money, having money, and “stuff-itis” has become more important than faithfulness and this is obvious in the church and the personal lives of the Christians in our country. Look at it. Right now the average Christian lives in excess debt and gives very little.
This isn’t exclusive to Christians. Look at our government. It is spending more than it makes every year, sells our debt to China, can’t balance their own budget, and pays it leaders more every year regardless of the financial crisis found in our time.
Take a look at this objectively both from the Church perspective and the government perspective. What would Welfare and Food Stamps costs to the government look like if the Church actually gave and was able to help the poor and sick as they were called to? What would our economy look like if the government followed the Biblical principles of money? The Bible tells us that debt is a slave master and that we should not be in debt.
This isn’t a problem that was developed in the church overnight. This isn’t a problem that our parents and grandparents didn’t face and, just to clarify, I am not saying that the prior generations of Christians in America were Super Saints or Super Sinners either.
As a matter of fact, we have discussed in prior posts about how the generations that have gone before us not only allowed, but also fought for, the right to abuse Native Americans and African Americans (here) and (here).
To drive this point home maybe your parents or grandparents gave faithfully, maybe they would have been shocked by the material viewed on TV on a daily basis, and maybe they would have spoken out against gay marriage; but there were many “Christians” in America faithfully attending church and giving while hating people for the color of their skin, calling black people “niggers”, forbidding them access to church and basic human rights. There were “Christians” who faithfully gave and attended church who owned slaves.
I believe that the answer to the problems we face personally and nationally are found in Jesus Christ, not government! Let us all stop following idols of fame, popularity, government celebrities, and MONEY and submit our lives to Jesus Christ and allow Him by his Spirit to move us back to faithfulness and effectiveness in finishing the mission He gave us.