Churches often debate how to budget their money.
Jesus might have something to say to us about this.
Jesus: “Here is How to Budget Your Money”
If Jesus were to show up at the annual meeting of the typical church when the church budget is analyzed and discussed, He would probably sit in the back and wait for the pastor or one of the elders to ask His opinion on the church budget. If they did, He might say, “You should organize your budget so that people do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, and honor their father and mother.”
And the church elders would glance smugly at each other and answer Jesus, saying, “Good Teacher. This is what we have been doing for many years! People have been trained. Disciples have been made. Hatred is being replaced with love. Marriages have been helped. Men are loving their wives, and wives are respecting their husbands. Youth and teens are being taught to honor and obey their parents. And as a result of all this, God has blessed our church! Membership is up thirty percent, we paid off our mortgage last year, and we are looking at purchasing some prime real estate across town to launch a satellite campus.”
When Jesus hears these things, He would probably look at them and say, “You still lack one thing. Sell all you have, and distribute your money to the poor.”
The suggestion of Jesus would get put to vote before the board for discussion, and everybody was reminded how hard everyone had worked as a church to get where they were, and how many people made great sacrifices to achieve their success. The pastor had even been asked to speak at a national church conference next year, and it was rumored that a book deal was in the works. If they sold everything and gave all the money away, what would happen to everything they had worked so hard for? Where would the people worship? How would they do ministry without a building? Without any money? Sure, they might be able to help some poor people, but once the money ran out, then what?
A vote was called for, and seconded, and when put to vote, the motion failed unanimously. The elders looked back to where Jesus sat to gauge His reaction, but He was no longer there. Sometime during the discussion about the church’s success, Jesus had slipped out the back door.
PS., What Jesus said to the church above about how to budget their money, is taken nearly verbatim from what Jesus told a rich man about his money. See Luke 18:18-23.
Sadly, this is probably what would have happened at every institutional church of which I have been a part. The best way we have found to personally deal with the problem is to not give the church money, but to give what we have to give directly to the poor. Notice that Jesus did not tell the young man to sell everything and give the proceeds to the temple or the priests.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, we are so tied to our buildings and our paid professionals, we think that God can only truly work if He has these things to help Him along.
Have you ever given much to large “ministries” which help feed the poor and hungry, or do you find that their administration costs are too great, and you are better off just helping and feeding the poor directly?
Clive Clifton says
The Church is not perfect because we are not perfect but being perfected. Jesus is not interested in our money but our hearts. He knew what the young man needed to do to follow Him. Jesus does not want our money but our hearts.
Our life here on earth is a test and an opportunity to search and find the truth, and will inevitably lead to many mistakes as we draw closer to the truth. Jesus did not condemn the young man but was sad. Jesus does not condemn his Bride, the Church, either, will you.
Jeremy Myers says
No, I will not (and do not) condemn the church either. I am coming along side the church to try to raise her up and help her along to be all that the Bridegroom desires.
Dan B. says
They would probably form a committee. http://blog.cmaresources.org/2012/01/30/parable-of-the-rich-old-church-by-dan-benson/.
Jeremy Myers says
What a great post! I love it.