Read: 2 Corinthians 9:7 |
A priest once asked one of his parishioners to serve as financial chairman of his parish. The man, a manager of a grain elevator, agreed on two conditions: No report would be due for a year, and no one would ask any questions during the year.
At the end of the year, he made his report. He had paid off the church debt of $200,000; redecorated the church; sent money to missions and he had $5,000 in the bank.
Needless to say, everyone wanted to know how! The man quietly explained, “You people bring your grain to my elevator. As you did business with me, I simply withheld 10 percent and gave it to the church. You never missed it!” [David E. Leininger, The View from Jesus’ Pew]
Though humorous, it does take the backdoor to our topic this week. Some Believers do not give an offering because they believe that the church is always begging for money!
Reason – I think the Church is always begging for money
I have often heard many verses of this common argument, of course they all belong to the same song. The song I have heard goes something like this …
Why do churches always seem to be asking for money all the time?
Frankly, it is such a big turn-off. In fact, I skip church sometimes because I get so tired of being asked for money from the pulpit, fundraisers, festivals, raffles and chicken dinners. Can we stop this merry-go-round of fund raising?
For instance, I know the Bible says that we serve a God that can meet all of our needs, right? [Philippians 4:19] So, why do we need to keep raising more money? If this Church is really doing stuff for God, won’t God just give us the money?
And while I am ranting, I don’t think that it is right to pimp God’s name in order to get us to give more money. Personally, I’m getting immune to the requests. I just mentally check out and answer email on my cell phone until they are done asking. Otherwise, it would be impossible for me to be a “cheerful” giver!
Churches that do not teach Stewardship are susceptible to being viewed as begging. Jesus often taught stewardship and we are wise to follow His example: [Bob Lotich, Why Do Pastors Always Talk About Money?]
- Jesus talked about money more than He talked about heaven and hell combined
- Jesus shared 39 parables and 11 of them talk about money
- In the Gospel of Luke, 1 out of every 7 verses talk about money
- Approximately 25 percent of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels relates to money, stewardship, and the resources God has given us
Jesus did not talk about money so often in order to raise money! He was helping Believers then and now to understand the proper priority of money in our spiritual lives. He continually shared financial Stewardship principles. He noted that money should be used for:
- Support of the Lord’s work
(Matthew 23:23; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 8:1-3)
- Support Missions, the poor and the needy
(Luke 10:29-37; 18:18-25; Luke 8:1-3; 10:1-9)
- Meet essential family needs and obligations
(Matthew 7:7-12; Mark 7:9-13; Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-22)
- Be a faithful Steward
(Luke 14:28-30; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 16:1-13)
We also must recognize that the church is the only organization that exists for the benefit of those who are not yet members![The Church Always Asks For Money, Mark Estes] Thus, a church can’t continue to thrive and carry out its mission without funding.
But as you noted in your question, God is able! Under God’s model for the Church, he has blessed the members of the church with time, talent and treasure. As they follow His commandments and practice stewardship, God does supply the needs of the church through the giving of its members. In other words, each of us is God’s solution to what the church needs.
Understandably some stewards need more “encouragement” than others. 2013 statistics from the Barna Group show that on average, only 5% of church members give 10% or more in offering. [American Donor Trends] Thus, the low rate of giving puts the church staff in a bind. They are compelled to remind members of their stewardship responsibility.
If members actually responded to the Holy Spirit on their own accord, then more churches would be like the one in the illustration above. Church debt could be retired, and we could more effectively be His witness from Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth without ever asking for money! [Acts 1:8]
“The Church – I repeat once again – is not a relief organization, an enterprise or an NGO, but a community of people, animated by the Holy Spirit, who have lived and are living the wonder of the encounter with Jesus Christ and want to share this experience of deep joy, the message of salvation that the Lord gave us.”
– Pope Francis, Message for World Youth Day – May 19, 2013
- 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. How do you feel when the church is asking for more money? Share your reaction here.
B. Does your Church teach Stewardship throughout the year?
2. Develop –
A. Does knowing that Jesus also spoke on money often help you handle the “talk” about money in your Church?
B. Has your Stewardship grown from year to year? Do you think it should grow or stay the same? Why or why not?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Discuss with a prayer partner better ways that you can approach hearing the church ask for money. Possibly use it as a time of self-examination with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to reveal any changes in your giving.