(Guest Writer - Mike Waggoner, TN)I recently read the new book by Rob Bell, Jesus Wants To Save Christians. Great book...really thought provoking. It came as a result of the front page of the Minneapolis Star stating that a certain church had just added onto their physical facility with the cost being 20.5 million dollars. On the same front page it was stated that 1 in 5 were living WAY below the poverty line. Rob asked the question..."What's wrong with this picture?" I ask the same question.
I think about the role of the church in meeting people's needs and ask...is this really being done? If you are a homeless person, the church may reach out to you, but if you are a member of a particular congregation, and have fallen on hard times, you can pretty much forget it. I have told the story of a friend who attended a LARGE and WEALTHY church who refused to help him and his family. This church's Youth Group account has $30,000.00 in it...this is just the account for the Youth! That's a buttload of pizza and soda!
The 1st Century church was truly a family. The book of Acts states that they had "all things in common...and no one lacked for anything". The church of today is quick to hoard for itself piles of "gold and silver" but this is to it's own destruction...ultimately.
Financial blessings are to be shared with those who have not...but this is the role of the church, not the government. Yes, the govt. needs to protect and serve the people, but the people are to sustain the people...and this is exactly what the church is supposed to do.
The Body of Christ has been relegated to a wheelchair. Impotent, weak and ineffective. Why? Because she hasn't functioned in the areas that her Lord had prescribed almost 2,000 years ago. Check out Matthew 25 to see His "checklist".
I grow tired and weary of seeing firsthand and hearing secondhand, the lack of compassion the churches have. The church has laid up for itself, treasure on earth, where "moth & rust corrupt"...to the point that it will soon be too late to apply the resources to people's needs. They will find that one day they will be able to dump their cash on the streets and no one will even notice, because it will no longer be worth anything. They will be begging to spend their wealth on someone and there will be no one who will want their help.
If we look at Biblical persons of wealth, they either used their wealth to benefit others and were blessed over again or they used it selfishly and were miserable. Abraham, David, Solomon, Barnabas on the one hand...Lot, Laban, Nabal and the very same Solomon on the other hand.
Money is meant to be a tool; a means of acquiring things to help others. Yes, it is OK to have things for yourself and to enjoy the blessings of wealth...but not at the expense of others having NOTHING. Our ultimate example is Jesus Himself. See Philippians 2...as a result of reading this SERIOUSLY, I have changed my perspective on wealth and giving, immensely.
Think about it.