There are certain sins that exist within the American church (probably others as well) that we tend to view as respectable because they don't seem to hurt anyone and everyone is doing it. One of those sins creeps in with the way in which we view money; continually purchasing things we cannot afford and then spending the vast majority of our money servicing the debt.
It is my persuasion that when we make it a habit of continually servicing our lifestyle on credit then that is when we are entering into the realm of greed and covetous living. More often than not people assume that greedy people are only those “wealthy” people. And it seems that when you talk about greed and covetousness they say, “Let those rich people have it!” Okay, I will. If you live in America then you are in the top 5% income earners in the world and statistically speaking you are probably over extended on debt.
Most people conclude that when you talk about being greedy that you are speaking only about people with high net worths. That has absolutely nothing to do with it. I have met high net worth people who are generous and some who are greedy. I have met low net worth people who are generous and who are greedy. The amount of money that you have does not matter, but what does matter is how you view the money and possessions you have and what you do with it.
A Test: Not A Matter of Commas & Zeros
There is a test that we can all take to see how we fall on the generous scale. Add up the amount of money you spend every month to simply service your debt (to service debt means only the amount that goes towards interest) and the amount you spend on entertainment and compare that to the amount that you give to your church and other charities. This simple formula will reveal a lot about your heart and your view on money.
American Church Is Failing, Now What?
One of my friends and mentors, Orrin Woodward, has a quote that I have heard him repeat many times, “Trust in God and all others must have data.” So, when it comes to America how generous are we and how greedy and covetous are we? Let’s do a comparison simply looking at the average amount of money that is spent to service debt versus how much is given to the cause of Christ.
Please don’t take this article as another cheap plea from a shady pastor to try to convince you to give your money. I am not after your money. God is not after your money. He is after your heart and we know, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). What I am inviting you to do is to dream with me. Imagine what could be accomplished through the church if the gospel got a hold of our pocketbooks and lifestyles!
Imagine how many gospel-centered churches could be started in communities that desperately need it. Do you know it only takes about 15 tithing families to fully support a church? Just a small group of committed disciples can help launch a gospel centered church in a new community!
Did you know that on a daily basis that children are still bought and sold in the human trafficking industry. The worst form of slavery in history is taking place right now and many of us are ignorant of this reality. If we are going to fight this evil it takes money and money that it sacrificially given.
It takes money to fight against the modern day Holocaust that is happening through the abortion industry. Thirty five hundred children are murdered everyday. Let me say that again in numerical form. 3500 children are murdered everyday. This makes me weep as I am writing this. Many people cannot have children and they would gladly take these little ones in and we are opting for taking their lives. Now, I understand that many men and women who have an abortion have bought into the lie that they are not ending a life. Most often they are victims of a corrupt propaganda machine and yet they are the ones who suffer the consequences. If we are going to fight against abortion it takes money. It takes people who are committed to the gospel and submitting to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of their lives.
Dream With Me
I know what you might be thinking, “These statistics are convicting and they really hit home, but now what am I supposed to do in light of them?” Here are some steps that each one of us can take. Remember that obedience is found in the journey. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint, and we will always be striving to conform certain elements of our lifestyle to God’s Word. Don’t lose heart and really lean into what I am about to write:
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.