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Money Matters – even to Christians! – Part 1 February 15, 2010

Posted by Henry in Money & Finance.
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There are many Christians in the world today who suffer financial hardships and who struggle to put food on the table and make ends meet. The problem is not made any better due to the current global financial crisis resulting in businesses collapsing and people being made redundant. The crisis has also seen many people losing their homes because they can’t keep up with mortgage payments and there are others who are at risk of losing their homes. Many people find themselves descending into debt or suffering lack in order to try and balance the books and keep themselves afloat and for many there is seemingly no way out of their financial morass. Many Christians have had their faith shaken and as a result of these trying times many will no doubt be asking, “Where is God?” because it is not easy to have faith when you are faced with extreme difficulties. One of the problems I find with the local churches therefore is that this area is not given due or enough consideration. Yet I believe it is of paramount importance that we address these financial concerns in the church because the vacuum left by not addressing it allows false doctrines to come into the church. An example of this is the growth and promulgation of the Word of Faith doctrines of “name it, claim it”, “health, wealth and prosperity”. People who are weak in the faith are likely to seek these churches, which are usually mega-churches, spouting such doctrines as opposed to the local church because they are seeking solutions to their problems, which the local church cannot give.

 Whilst I don’t necessarily believe that the main church service should be dedicated to addressing people’s financial problems I certainly think much more can be done in other settings than simply to have people write their concerns, be it financial or otherwise, on a piece of paper and have it prayed over, during intercessory prayers. This is not to discount the power of prayer of course but in looking at scripture we see in James 2 that it is our responsibility to meet peoples pressing needs instead of simply telling them to depart in peace and be filled and be warmed, which is effectively what we do when we only pray for them. The Apostle James calls this faith without works. So although the local church may be imparting the Word of God often there are people in the congregation who are hurting especially financially. Yet the church passes around the collection plate for the weekly “tithes and offerings” and pray a blessing for that which is given, oblivious to the plight of some members. One of the reasons they are oblivious also is because the local churches, whilst they will support missionaries or local charities, do not foster a system of welfare to address the needs of those within their midst. Perhaps it is assumed that if people don’t approach then all is well but people who are hurting will often not approach the church for assistance, out of personal pride or fear of being looked at with disdain. This is especially the case as “church money” is often looked at as “God’s money” and to use it outside of the purposes defined by the board would be considered sacrilegious. Jesus however did not condemn David for eating the temple shew-bread out of need (Matt 12:3-4).

 If we look also at the early church in Acts 2 and Acts 4 however we see that “church money” was originally used to support those in need in the church so that no one lacked. The welfare system in the church is also demonstrated in Acts 6:1-6 where we see the Disciples telling the people that they could not neglect the word to serve at tables but that they should appoint seven worthy men to oversee that ministration. In the absence of a formal welfare system however, Paul in Acts 20:33-35 admonishes us to support the weak even through our own hard labour, as he himself did, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. By using his own hands Paul supported himself but he didn’t stop there. He helped those who accompanied him as well out of his own substance and this is the example that we in the church today should follow to alleviate some of the needs of people. These are the things that we should be doing instead of telling people to “exercise their faith”, “bring it to the Lord in prayer”, and “nail it to the Cross” or whatever other catch phrase may be used. As the Apostle James said, if we do not give those things that are needful for the body we are practising faith without works which is dead.

 In the next part I will attempt to look at some small ways in which Christians can also help themselves in alleviating some of their financial problems.

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Comments»

1. BDO - February 16, 2010

Great post! Since money and possessions are most talked about in the Bible, it is very timely. We do need to understand what the Bible says about those topics, because it affects every other part of our life. Keep up the good work!

Henry - February 16, 2010

Hello BDO,
Thanks for stopping and for those comments. I certainly do think there is a bit of a vacuum in church circles, especially the “local church” concerning this issue hence the reason I am trying to address it here.


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