Read: I Timothy 6:6-11 |
Charles Spurgeon, a well-known British Baptist preacher in the late 1800’s, was the pastor of the largest Baptist Church in London and grew in fame. Along with the fame came criticism and assumptions.
According to a story in the Chaplain magazine, Spurgeon and his wife would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, “You may have them if you pay for them.” As a result, some people labeled the Spurgeon’s as greedy and grasping.
They accepted the criticisms without defending themselves, and only after Mrs. Spurgeon died was the full story revealed. All the profits from the sale of eggs went to support two elderly widows. Because the Spurgeon’s where unwilling to let their left hand know what the right hand was doing (Matthew 6:3), they endured the attacks in silence.
At offering time each week in Churches around the world, some members label their Pastor and Church with unflattering terms based on real, imagined or misinterpreted information. Their worldly biases generate friction with their faith. In turn, it causes them to wonder if they should trust their natural nature or their spiritual.
In my prior posting, we covered Part 1 of the Overview for the topic “Top 10 Reasons Believers do not give an Offering”. [Link to Part 1 – Personal Biases] The prior post highlighted the impact of personal biases. Personal biases lead to four of the ten reasons we will cover.
Church / Religious Biases
Our personal biases look inward for a reason not to give. Our Church/Religious biases project an external reason – real or imagined – that prompt us not to give. These biases tend to form gradually as we observe examples of religious leaders caught in sin and/or questionable behavior with the Church’s money.
Subsequently, these biases cause us to rationalize that the issues we see in the news could be happening in our local Church. Unchecked, these biases can lead to Church splits and power struggles. The generalized reasons include:
- I think the Church is wrong to be begging for money – 2 Corinthians 9:7
- I don’t trust the Preacher – I Corinthians 9:7-12
- I don’t agree with where the money is going – Acts 6:1-5a, 7
- I don’t know where the money is going – I Timothy 5:17-18
- I already give to the TV Ministries and other organizations – Phil. 4:15-19
- I don’t believe the Tithe is biblical for the New Testament Church – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
These types of biases, however, have always existed. For instance:
• Judas did not always agree with how Jesus was handling the money. [John 12:3-5]
• Ananias and Sapphira took liberty with what they gave versus what they reported to have given to satisfy their bias. [Acts 5:1-5]
These types of biases influence our decision-making and can affect our relationship with God. The question to be explored is how does the stand we take on the Stewardship of our Finances impact our spiritual growth trajectory? If there is no impact to our growth, then no problem, carry on! However, if there is an impact, would we do anything different?
This series may trigger a spiritual anxiety attack for those who are wary of discussions about “God” and “money”. However, I recognize and accept that challenge. I would prefer that the posts serve as a basis for discussion and understanding as we compare our biases with God’s Word.
After all, only love can change a reason “not” to give an offering into a loving response to His mercy and grace.
- I don’t believe the Tithe is Biblical for the New Testament Church
- I’m afraid to trust God with my offering
- I don’t know where the money is going
- I don’t agree with where the money is going
- I don’t trust the Preacher
- I think the Church is always begging for money
- I give elsewhere
- I give when I want to give
- I only have a little to give
- I don’t have anything to give
1. Discover –
A. When a special offering is raised by your Church, what factors into your decision to give or not to give towards the offering?
B. Since you became a Christian, do you have any Religious/Church biases that still trouble you? If so, share them here as a group discussion.
2. Develop –
A. In our lives, we see many good causes that deserve a donation. How do you decide to whom to give your money? Should I give to: Church, Red Cross, Flood Victims, Family, TV Ministries, Missionaries, Church Playground, etc.
B. If you do have questions about the Church Finances, does your Church have a process to answer these questions? Note: The Bible teaches us to do things in an orderly manner [1 Corinthians 14:40].
3. Demonstrate –
A. Share an example of a Religious/Church bias towards God and money that you were able to overcome.