Don't churches just want my money?

dreamstimefree_8223206 © Steven Arnold Australian money.jpg

Church ministers often feel uncomfortable talking about money.  It’s not surprising;  the salary of the paid staff is usually the biggest item on a church’s list of expenses.  If they encourage members to give money, they feel as if they are saying, ‘Don’t forget to pay me!’

But the Bible says a lot about money.  It talks about good stewardship, fair wages, the ethics of borrowing and lending, fraud, theft, bribery, compensation for theft or loss or injury, money and politics, savings, taxes, greed, generosity, profit, investment, thrift, extravagance, value for money, heritance, welfare, and budgeting.  And I’ve probably missed a few.

Jesus had no hesitation talking about money.  He called a spade a spade:  “No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”  He didn’t say “you should be poor”;  but he did say that ‘the deceitfulness of wealth’ is one of the main things that stops Christians from productively following Jesus;  and being rich makes it very hard for someone to accept God’s love and blessing.

Jesus’ advice on a healthy attitude towards money is revolutionary.  He sees it as a tool to be used in actioning God’s master plan.  The amount you have is unimportant;  what matters is your relationship with it.  The person with nothing is wealthy if they are generous with what they have.  And a person who spends money to make lots of friends is wiser than a person who dies with a big bank balance.

- Katie Peken