God’s Money

I am so proud of myself. I went to church yesterday even though I knew the pastor was going to talk about money. It was a bold move on his part to talk about money on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday has such great sermon theme possibilities: Jesus as King; the People as Fickle fools. 

Like many pastors, ours only talks about money about once a year. We still have constant reminders. Every service includes the words, “tithes and offerings” and there is an obvious “passing of the plate.” Reminders shouldn’t be necessary. Someone has to pay for the buildings, salaries, utility bills and, hopefully, some outreach. If it’s your church, you should support it.

The Pastor laid out three good money principles.

It’s all God’s Anyway.  This is not the way the pastor put it. He likes the word “tithe.” He acknowledges we don’t tithe because it was part of the law in the old testament. He says it’s a principle. If we give God our best, he will give us more. He blesses our finances. There are lots of examples of that. 

I rather say we need to acknowledge that it’s all God’s anyway. It’s not a question of math but of thanksgiving and praise, a form of worship. There’s is long-lasting joy in recognizing that happiness isn’t in owning things, but in being in awe of all God has and shares.

Wisdom.  It’s amazing how stupid we are about money.  We will buy a thousand dollar iPhone before paying the rent. We will “treat” ourselves to an expensive restaurant, even when the fridge and pantry are empty. We could all be a bit smarter about $$$.

Trust.  This one is the key. We hoard God’s blessings or use them unwisely because we don’t trust him to provide tomorrow what he has all our lives. 

These are three great principles for us to apply in our personal lives. THANKS PASTOR.

Amazingly, I find that churches often don’t follow these principles. I read recently, for example, that the average church spends over 95% of its income on itself. Less than 5% going to missions, etc. What happened to “tithe.” I once attended a church that gave away 50% of what it took in. The church had no building. Eventually, a building was purchased. That was the beginning of the end. 

Many churches are not good at wisdom or trust. I know churches who have debt free buildings and lots of money in the bank and don’t pay their staffs a living wage and give a tiny percent to outreach or missions. Is that wisdom or lack of trust. Like most things, there is a balancing act.  I also know churches who trip up the other way. They spend money unwisely on excessive salaries and elaborate buildings. 

If you have a church in which you have “ownership.” Your responsibility doesn’t end with writing a check. You need to know where your money goes. Good pastors, like mine, don’t know who gives what. That can lead to control issues. But everyone who calls a church home should know about church finances. 

I highly recommend following my pastor’s three principles in your personal life and make sure your church is doing the same.

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