“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
I think we can catch a glimpse of what I’m talking about with this home church idea. Things would be much different than church as usual. Much, much different. It would have to be because the church would consist entirely of fired-up believers who are passionate about Jesus and who would grow to love one another in a way unheard of in their old churches.
In case you are thinking your church really loves, here’s a simple test. Jesus says they will know us by our love, right? Does the community at large say that your love for one another is over the top? Be honest, now. Is it? I’ve been to lots of secular groups that love one another deeply. Alcoholics Anonymous, for example. They are spiritual but not Christian. Same could be said about the apostate Episcopal Church. Those folks love each other very much, too. Would any of them say an evangelical church loves more than they do? I bet not. Stop and think hard about that.
Anyway, let’s consider something else. Since there is no longer a building or paid staff, there is suddenly plenty of disposable money. Kingdom money. How might we “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do no break in and steal”? (Matthew 6:20) The answer to that is in the next verse:
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Let me share some thoughts with you. What really started me on this journey is the realization that after salvation, there is no real effort by the church to radically change our lives. If there was, we would be far better off than the world at large. As it is, we aren’t significantly different from anyone else. If we start looking at these “problems” as “chains,” we might see this problem in a whole new light.
Take tithing, for example. We all know good and well that there are great benefits for tithing – both for the giver and the recipient. Yet, we see very few tithes. Why? Most simply don’t want to. Let me put that another way. Most refuse to. Yet, there are some who do want to tithe but simply cannot.
Let’s think about a single mom. Common sense tells us that she is living hand-to-mouth. Besides that, she probably knows very little about money management. Yes, she might squander some, but there simply is not enough money to meet all her obligations. It’s often a slow bleed that soon turns into high-interest debt to make ends meet.
Put the pencil to paper, folks. She can’t pay for a flat tire let alone put 10% pre-tax into the church’s basket. But, what advice do we give her? Have more faith. Put the money in the basket and don’t worry about it. God will take care of you.
Yes, that has worked out for some, but I have a different opinion. This single mom is in financial chains. She has a great burden that is hard to comprehend. Nobody would volunteer to trade places with her. Yet, we expect her to solve her problems on her own. Just have more faith, right?
Isn’t this woman part of the flock? What if she had cancer? We would make meals for her and mow her lawn. We would run errands for her. Heck, we would organize community fundraisers to help her pay her bills. Right? But not if she is simply a single mom. I think there is something more that we could be doing.
Let’s think about this. Her heart is in the right place. She wants to tithe. She is fired-up about Jesus and wants to obey. Still, she feels a crushing guilt for not having enough faith to trust God to tithe. Might not this be a place for the church to help remove those chains? Yes, there is prayer, but I’m talking about far more than that. I’m talking about investing in heaven.
If we, as a church, are free to invest where our heart is (Matthew 6:21), might we consider removing the chains from this single mother? What if the church was to use its tithe to pay down her debt so that she could live within her means? Not only that, but pay it down so she could enjoy tithing herself? Imagine the blessing we could bestow someone by enabling them to tithe? Wait just a minute. Imagine us having the ability to take those chains off her yet refusing to do that? Ugh. I don’t like to think about answering to Jesus about that one.
Now, there would need to be a lot more happen than paying her bills. First, the church would need to educate her about money and how to manage it. Heck, might not this be something the entire church should study? Notice, I say the church educate her. We’re supposed to make disciples. Money management is part of that. When we do things together, we succeed together. We must not leave her to figure this out herself because alone she will likely fail. We must not let that happen. Of course, if she isn’t willing to do the work, then we must wait until she is. Until then, what do we do? We all pray for her, with her, until God changes things.
What else might we consider? First, her children must be our priority. They need their mom. They need a lot of time with her. We would be wrong to think her answer must be in taking on another part-time job. She’ll need someone experienced to go through all her finances with her (besides taking money-management training). Maybe her housing is too expensive for her means. That might mean a change is necessary. This might require some mental adjustments. Maybe a new car needs to be sold and an older one purchased. Maybe she needs to go to school. Who knows!
Here’s what we do know. We are all required to live contently within the resources that God has given us. That means each of us must be willing to abandon the entitlement mentality that enslaves the entire USA. Bigger houses and new cars are a curse. We must be satisfied with what God provides for us.
On the other hand, some of us are provided an excess beyond what we need. What do we do with that? I’ll tell you what. No, let me share what God has written:
Acts 2:42-47 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Do you see what I mean?
Let me ask to you consider something. Right now, every dime we give to “church-as-usual” gets gobbled up in payroll and building expenses. There never is enough. It seems to me that the church itself is in financial bondage. What makes more sense? Going a completely different route and investing in heaven through a single mom or throwing more and more money away at a church who burns it up as fast as it comes in? Don’t kid yourself on this. The majority that attend church aren’t engaged. They don’t pay their fair share. They have no intention of doing so.
I say we do something different.
Father, let this get out. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers