C H U R C H R E F O R M S E R I E S
By Biblicism Institute
Money is the reward for your hard work, therefore be judicious how you spend it.
It is foremost to satisfy your needs and the needs of your family – today, in bad times, and in your later years – while not forgetting those less fortunate.
DON’T BE LIKE THE UNRIGHTEOUS STEWARD
“In a wise man’s dwelling, precious treasures and oils are stored.” Proverbs 21: 20
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22
You are just a steward of the money you earn, therefore learn to control it before it controls you. In other words, get in the habit of using and bequeathing it properly:
a. meet your family’s needs (vacation included);
b. don’t waste money on frivolous things;
c. prepare for bad times (savings and insurance);
d. invest in your retirement;
e. lay away for your children’s future;
f. take eternity into account and apply Jesus’s parable of The Unrighteous Steward from Luke 16:
1 AND he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods.
2 And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of you? Give an account of your stewardship: for now you can’t be steward no longer.
3And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord takes away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed.
4 I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.
5 Therefore calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord?
6 But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take your bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty.
7 Then he said to another: And how much do you owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take your bill, and write eighty.
8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, for as much as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.
9 And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when you die, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
With that parable, Jesus delineated a two-prong position.
1) Salvation. The unrighteous steward gave away commercial goods to those who could give back to him in return. Scratch my back, I scratch yours. That’s the way of the world, and for the world it is a smart way to deal. However, you, as a disciple of Christ, have something better to give. The Gospel of Salvation. And it is not to be exchanged for filthy lucre like many “preachers” do today. It is to be given to all, expecting nothing in return. That’s why Jesus said right after:
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16: 13
Many will argue that “preachers” don’t preach the Gospel for money. But how come they always find a way to ask for that unrighteous mammon? And how come they draw a salary as compensation? See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.
Jesus never asked for money and neither did the Apostles. Whenever the Apostles picked up a collection, it was always to give to the poor.
2) Money. You must not only give the Gospel away for free, you must also bestow money on those who can’t give back to you. That way they can see Christ in you, as well as getting a taste of the goodness of the Lord through your giving.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good.” Psalm 34: 8
“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” Luke 6: 33
When you give it is as if God Himself is giving. Said gesture affords you the opportunity to share Christ. It is also a seed impregnated with Christian love that later on could yield the fruit of change in marginal “Christians,” or salvation in the souls of those who do not know Christ. That’s why Jesus said to “make friends using unrighteous mammon.”
Thereupon, those at the receiving end of your gift, once saved, will be able to partake with you of the everlasting life, which is the real dividend or the true riches that God Himself will assign to you as your own.
Unfortunately, many are in the habit of telling those who are in need that they’ll “pray” for them. But of what use are these prayers?
“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2: 15-17
If God brings someone in need to YOU, or you hear of someone in need, and YOU do nothing to actually help, how will his plight be mitigated? God is not going to “personally” alleviate his suffering. He commanded YOU – His steward – to do so.
Instead, many have no qualms writing big checks for “preachers” in “ministry” who use their hard-earned money to live the high life. See Of Leaders and Servants in the Church.
In so doing they set in motion the exact opposite of what Jesus talked about in the parable. They reward these “preachers” for teaching the word, and in return these “preachers” keep preaching to get more checks.
Consequently, the whole lot become unrighteous stewards, especially as Jesus never meant for his church assembly to be a 501c3 corporation nor for it to run on money.
THE GIFT OF GIVING
Before you give make sure you take care of your family first. Then whatever you purpose in your heart to donate, do so to:
1) those in your extended family or household who are in need, and
2) those outside your family who are poor, needy, or struggling, Christians firstly and others next. See The Family is God’s Plan.
“But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, whatever I have that would help you has been given to God, he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Matthew 15:5,6
“But if someone doesn’t provide for their own family, and especially for a member of their household, they have denied the faith. They are worse than those who have no faith.” 1 Timothy 5:8
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:7
” ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?‘ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ ” Matthew 25: 37-40
“…let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28
That’s how God blessed the latter days of Job. He multiplied – through Job’s hard work – the money his brothers, sisters, and friends gifted him in order to afford him a fresh new start.
“Then came there unto him all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” Job 42:11,12
In other words, give to those you personally know and to those God puts in your path. If everyone did that, the world would be a better place.
GIVING ABOVE AND BEYOND
You’ll find that even after doing all of the above, the cacophony of those vying for your money is still unmistakably loud.
a) The local church. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie
b) Christian businesses and other businesses disguised as ministries.
A “Christian” business is no different than a “secular” business. Both provide valuable services in exchange for monetary compensation, and they’re both under the natural laws of commerce: make a profit or fail trying. So no one should gift them any money.
Examples of Christian businesses would be: stores that sell Christian paraphernalia, music, movies, and the like; touring Christian bands and singers; Christian radio stations; etc.
In general, God does not look upon these businesses as being different than secular ones, as long as their owners treat their customers and employees as they would themselves, and as long as the following is observed:
“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Where many Christian businesses fudge the line is when they portray themselves as ministries. A Christian ministry, contrary to a Christian business, provides a service without any exchange of money, and when it receives any donation it is to give to those in need and not to enrich the service providers. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.
The most notorious of those “businesses as ministries” are churches and media ministries whose “leaders” use money drives and peddle books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and paraphernalia of all sorts, in order to enrich themselves through exorbitant salaries and perks, while many in the flock can’t even pay the electric bill.
c) Other actual ministries, secular charities, and non-profit organizations.
When it comes to giving above and beyond what is required, especially if you have plenty to spare, let Jesus Himself tone down the noise.
“Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell all that you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: then come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21
First, let’s make it clear that what Jesus told that man was for that man. He told him to sell everything and give it all away. As for you, you must listen to what Jesus has to tell you. The scope of His order for you might be quite different. And how do you hear Him? He tugs your heart gently and repeatedly until His will permeates your spirit – that is if you’re truly open to hearing Him.
Second, when Jesus told the man to give all his money to the poor, He didn’t demand that the money be given to “His ministry” or “His organization.” He told the man to personally go and distribute it.
The idea is to bless others one on one. Again, that way they can see Jesus working through you, as it is an occasion to share the love of Christ – not to shove it down their throats.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:5
However, for a tiny minority it might be logistically difficult to personally give away a large amount of money to a lot of different individuals. Still, nothing is impossible, and you’ll never know until you try.
Some alternative solutions might be to start your own foundation/ministry, or to give in-kind contributions instead of cash to existing ministries/organizations that cater to the needy, the downtrodden, the less fortunate, the uninformed, the sick, and the lost (i.e., all organizations that strive to make the world a better place for all, humans and animals).
In these instances, ministries that cater to the needy can 1) incorporate to help raise money and legally protect themselves, and 2) hire employees or contractors, if Christian volunteers cannot be found. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry.
And if you feel strongly inclined to financially help one or various of those outside organizations, Christian or secular, make sure you (or your accountant) personally examine or research how they’re handling (or mishandling) their finances, as well as keeping in mind that many of them are just fronts for unscrupulous individuals to draw hefty salaries.
In God’s Kingdom on earth, we Christians don’t give to get back. We give freely just the way God gives because we want to emulate Him.
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “Acts 20:35
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32
Therefore, God doesn’t bless us because of what we give or do.
“When you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which was our duty to do.'” Luke 17:10
He blesses us because of who He is.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1
Gifted money should almost always go to those who are in need, whether they’re in want for food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, bible, etc.
Consequently, follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and apply due diligence. In the end, you have to make the call.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21