It is the dizzy height of gross, sheer, rank inanity for the world to label Christians who choose to give their money to the church as stupid. Like Jesus took a whip and charged on the detractors of the faith; in this article, I am going after what is no doubt the crass ignorance and gargantuan hypocrisy of the world. Let it be known that Christians are not some toothless beings that people can always pick on and trample on their feelings with impunity and devoid of a dram of effrontery.
Every now and again, someone needs to hold a large mirror to the world, and suffuse with sense, a stubborn existence of vacuous reasoning. Indeed, there is a time for everything. There is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:7 KJV). Thus, the perpetual silence that allows curdling ignorance to actually solidify and crystallise is not a correct application of Scripture.
On occasion, I have heard, read, and felt the nauseating influence of withering judgement and stinging condescension of labels given to people who, in view of their commendable concern and fragrant desire for church growth decide to pump their money into its work. In fact, that untrained thought and crude conclusion that these people are somewhat delusional or gullible has got to stop.
When people prattle on, their ignorance blares out. It is obvious that they have not read the Bible, or they have read a part of the Bible and feel qualified to pass judgement on broad issues.
'Not part of the national budget'
Let's get this poignant truth: the money of Christians is not meant to fix world problems. The Great Commission is not to go out and end world poverty. It is the established duty of governments who collect taxes to fix the problems in their respective countries.
Indeed, the Great Commission has a focus on spiritual growth and preparation for a new life. "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16 KJV).
The classic test in Scripture where some disciples thought the money of a giver should be used for the poor, was dismissed by Jesus Himself (see John 12:1-8).
If a responsible government does what it is supposed and mandated to do, there will be no need for a church to take care of the economic situation of a community. That is the correct use of taxes. The Church's tithes and offerings are not part of the national budget.
Thus, the argument that a church must use its money to do what government should do, is a porous and misleading argument. Yes, every church must exercise its choice to do as it pleases with its own money. And if it chooses to give to the poor, that is its prerogative—it is not an imposition. Moreover, it is not the duty of any church to solve world hunger, period. After all, the church is neither the IMF nor the World Bank. Right here, the world should give us a break!
Is it not rather strange that those who expect churches to help also disdain its members for giving to the church? How will the church feed the poor, help the homeless, improve education, or do other things when the church is barely able to survive financially?
Perhaps, we should ask: If you are poor, surviving on food stamps, other subsidies, or welfare; is it the church's fault that you are poor? Is the church supposed to eradicate your poverty? Is it not your government you should be taking to task?
No, the world loves the work churches do, but it despises its teachings. Let the church stand by its biblical truths and the world is in an uproar, but let it shoulder the responsibilities of failed government and corrupt states, and they will applaud.
Moreover, when one reads stories online regarding the church, it is increasingly obvious that many comments appear to be from unbelievers who feel they must comment on a religion they delight in mocking. Why are these people so concerned about the same church givers they very much despise anyway? Likewise, the same press that holds the church in derision also appears to act as though concerned about the members of the same organisation. Are they genuine? Are they truly concerned?
'Fools for giving to Jesus' ministry?'
The hypocrisy of people in the world who criticise the choice of members to give to churches must stop. After all, people in the world use their money for whatever they choose and it suffices, but when the church chooses to spend its money on what it deems fit, the world, yes, the secular media in particular, goes berserk.
The idea that people giving to the church are some stupid people is a weak argument. In truth, Jesus had people giving to His ministry and He never called them stupid or irresponsible. In fact, listed supporters (or financiers) of His ministry were actually women. Luke 8:2-3 records, "And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance" (NKJV).
It is worth enquiring: Were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others fools for giving to Jesus' ministry?
It is a sign of unnecessary indolence if people can't afford to know the full truth, but will pick Scriptures to support their subjective views. Jesus, the example, these people usually reference, gladly accepted the giving that He received. Should a church not accept the donations of its members?
Apostle Paul equally had repeated support for his ministry. He declared, "Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities" (Philippians 4:15-16 NKJV).
This article is neither a treatise nor apology for insane greed and senseless desire for filthy lucre that leads to massive exploitation of church members. As with all things in life, there are those who go overboard. Of course, I know some people have been pressurised to give—think about countless programmes organised simply to collect money. Yes, this "seed" and that "seed" till the giving time stamps a perpetual scowl and visible consternation on some members' faces.
However, the presumption of a synecdoche must be flung aside. A part cannot always be described as the whole. And in a vast number of cases, in my opinion, members are given a choice to donate, and they make their own informed decision. The minority that employ duress, if we may refer to it as such, and pile on subtle or brazen pressure on members while using credible Scriptural truth as well as twisted texts to facilitate their agenda for personal enrichment at the expense of the flock, should not stain this fragrant act and lead to church giving being referred to as a stupid act practised by gullible people.
How are churches going to be run, if members do not support? Will churches be given free accommodation, water, electricity etc. just because they are churches?
Moreover, for those who labour in the field, are they not to be rewarded for their services? Did Paul not write, saying, "Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his hire" (1 Timothy 5:17-18 Amplified Bible)?
Following this truth, if part of the giving of the people is used to reward faithful ministers, what crime is committed? To suggest that members who initially gave are operating from some weak state of mind, and did not do so after thinking it through, is uncharitable at best and ludicrously puerile, if not infantile, at worst.
In one unreasoned and ill-thought article I read, the writer actually said, "It's time for people to wake up and stop being stupid." Where being stupid means giving money to a church. By this illogical yardstick, how stupid is the whole world then, considering the many things we all do with our money?
'As they please'
Perhaps, those who think poverty is fashionable, and it is what those who labour in the Lord's vineyard should be blessed or cursed with, should go and preach it to the greedy CEOs on fat salaries who can afford to spend in a day what the average person cannot earn in a year. Or they should carry their message to CEOs of secular charities who rake huge sums of money from donations.
We must leave these church givers to also do with their own money as they please. It is disingenuous, in fact, downright callous and palpably tyrannical to question a person's choice simply because you don't feel giving money to a church is a right or sound thing to do. Did they not earn their own money?
And why do the secular world, particularly the press feel they must criticise what Christians do with their money? Now, these same "keepers" of a fake morality are the same people who cheer when acts that are naturally abhorrent are being perpetrated by people who claim their right to do as they please. Yes, acts that the senses protest as flagrant are the very same things that these people in the media in particular hail and cheer as some sort of advancement or progress—perhaps, progress in madness. For, in the mindless spirit of the age, let someone rise up and do some crazy thing, and the world defends their right, but not the church?
'Stop donating to churches'
Giving is an aromatic act that many choose to practise. It does not make us stupid, and neither do we do it because we are stupid. It is a selfless sacrifice, and dropping $50 into the offering bowl instead of a night out drinking one's head off puts matters into perspective.
And assuming people do not give their money to the church; will they necessarily give it to the poor, or the tramp on the street?
In one comment, I happen to read, someone called for people to actually stop donating to churches. He called the pastors "fools". It is evident he forgot the amount that we give to governments, and what they do with it in some countries. In fact, it may very well be that this charge has definitely been misplaced. Perhaps, the secular press should focus more on how taxpayers are defrauded, and their dollars wasted by clueless politicians driven by selfish gain.
Yet, it must also be pointed out that not all the critics are outside the church walls. In truth, most of our critics are right within our walls.
Is it not amusing, or even hypocritical that some people (Christians) who ask people not to give to one church—and most of these bunch are supposedly "error catchers" and "false prophet pointers"—while denouncing giving to other churches equally have donate buttons on their websites soliciting for money from the general public? Yes, they also want your precious dollars. A chuckle and a sideways nod are appropriate!
Using phrases like "a fool and his money are soon parted" to describe church givers, can only stem from unsound reasoning. It is an unfair charge. Shall we also say, a fool and his money are soon parted watching crazy movies; a fool and his money are soon parted taking unnecessary vacations; a fool and his money are soon parted buying ludicrous and grotesque paintings called art; a fool and his money are soon parted doing just about everything requiring money? Is that what it comes to? Can't you see this reasoning dies the death of a thousand qualifications?
If church giving and acquisitions made from such donations are generally termed as scams, then what shall we say of real world examples like Enron and Herbalife to name a few? Shall we touch a sore and sensitive chord by referring to the masses buying false hope on the internet?
It goes without saying that good stewardship must be practised by all Christians, but it is not the world that will teach us how we should spend our money. And the unfair picking on Christians, amid these same people's fear of other religions should stop. In truth, asking the devotees to a religion to donate is an enshrined aspect of virtually all religions. For example, Muslims pay zakat, and Jewish synagogues have membership dues. Moreover, doesn't the secular world give to causes they respect? Don't atheists give to support their passions and pursuits? Should Christians not feel free to also give their own money to their church?
Church givers—very sensible people—must remain faithful in their giving to God. He is the true rewarder of our actions. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9 KJV). For further reading, please see Luke 6:38; Proverbs 11:24-25; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; Matthew 6:1-4; Hebrews 13:16; Deuteronomy 14:22-29; Deuteronomy 16:17; Deuteronomy 15:10; 1 Chronicles 29:9; Mark 12:41-44; Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 9:10-15; Hebrews 11:4; Galatians 6:6.
I shall return with my talking drums in "Tithing is our Choice".
Angelina K. Morrison is interested in national development, true religion, and self-improvement. She enjoys thinking, and writes stories only when the muse grips her. Her first short story, Gravellatina is a breathtaking five-part gripping series available now at Amazon. You can email her at [email protected], or find her at www.angelinakmorrison.wordpress.com or Facebook page.