Is there a better way to express a culture of giving and receiving than blindly throwing ten percent into the mouth of a voracious, impersonal, non-relational, religious machine that consumes resources like the Borg assimilating the universe?[i] I think there is.
But there as many opinions on this topic as there are believers!
I mean, I thought about when we first built The Dome, I wanted to put some of those little moving bars and give everybody a little card. They’d stick it in a little computer slot. If they were tithing, beautiful music would go off – and, you know: “Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the World Dome!” But, if they were non-tithers, the bar would lock up, the red and blue lights would start going, the siren would go off, and a voice would go out throughout the entire dome: “Crook, crook, crook, crook! – Creflo Dollar
The quickest way to transform a city is to buy it. – John Muratori
The Bible says that He has left us an example that we should follow His steps. That’s the reason why I drive a Rolls Royce. I’m following Jesus’s steps. – Fred Price.
Give $10 and receive $1000; Give $1000 and receive $100,000 . . . give one house and receive one hundred houses or a house worth one hundred times as much. Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane . . . in short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal. – Gloria Copeland
I continually find it necessary to guard against the natural love of wealth and grandeur which prompts us always, when we come to apply our general doctrine to our own case, to claim an exception. – William Wilberforce
When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart. – John Wesley
Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money. – Tertullian
Shun as you would the plague a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity. – St. Jerome.
You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity. – Thomas Wolfe
Money answers to all things. – Ecclesiastes 10:19
They that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. – 1 Timothy 6:9
Whew! Just a few differing points of view regarding money over a few thousand years! Is there a Jesus-centered middle ground? I sure hope so.
Is there a better way to handle money and express a culture of giving and receiving than blindly throwing ten percent into the mouth of a voracious, impersonal, non-relational, religious machine that consumes resources like the Borg assimilating the universe?[i] I think there is.
On the other hand, is it really kingdom progress to be so suspicious of the intent of equippers (Eph. 4:11-13) that we guard our wallets like Ebenezer Scrooge fondling a farthing? I think not.
Is the kingdom really helped if the carnality of individual leaders abusing finances is replaced by the carnality of individual believers sitting as king over their bank accounts, throwing Jesus the scraps and leftovers of the insatiable materialistic appetite of American cultural values? I think not.
Do I give in a disciplined way or should I be “Spirit-led?” What exactly is being “Spirit-led” and what is just an excuse for a lack of discipline? Do I give it all to starving babies and live in a van down by the river? Do I feel guilty for the blessings of living in the West? Would making myself poor really help anyone? What is reasonable giving and what isn’t?
Where is the line between self-centered materialism and enjoying the blessing of God? Is there a line? Who defines it? How is it defined? Does it need to be defined? Should it be defined? Does whatever “I feel in my heart” cover the matter . . . end of story?
Does giving 10.0000000000000%+ of gross (good heavens, not net!) get the Heavenly Accountant off my back? Does that cover it? Does 9.275894567899% get me on the wrong side of the Heavenly Accountant who will send a heavenly IRS agent down upon me to curse my job or my business, and my children (seed) for my egregious sin of failing to give Him the first fruits of my increase?
What is generous and what is insanity? Does any “man” even have the right to ask these questions? Isn’t it all between God and me and none of anyone else’s cotton-pickin’ business what I give or don’t give? I don’t need anyone telling me what to give!
Do I open my metaphorical veins and bleed arterially for Jesus? Do we all live in cardboard boxes and eat Top Ramen noodles all our lives so we can send a missionary to Siberia or the Sudan? Is sending used tea bags and cut up rags for bandages to missionaries in the field considered “generous giving?” (Yes, someone actually suggested that to me.)
Do I give all my goods to the poor? Do I give my body to be burned? Quick, where is my whip? We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy . . . whap . . . whap . . . whap . . . whap . . .
Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . . There has to be a better way, and there is.
This blog is an excerpt from our title: Money and the Church: A Better Way to Live and Give available at www.stevecrosby.com
Stephen Crosby has done a masterful job of wading through the myriad of theologies around giving and money, taking us right back to where it all begins: the human heart being shaped and formed by the expansive, generous heart of God. Freeing us from the endless gimmicks, guilt trips, and Christian get-rich-quick schemes, Steve reveals in a profoundly deep, articulate, and theologically sound way a life rooted in a genuine heart of divine love and freedom. A healthy dose of sanity in an area that often seems so out of control crazy!” – Michael Rose, Iamsignificant
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[i] See Star Trek: The Next Generation.