Mammon, Systems and Tithing
We've had a lot of comment on our forum about our original 'God and Mammon' podcast and questions about tithing. Brad and Wayne just couldn't resist, so they jumped in again to this tangled web of how much money influences our religious systems and what they think the Bible teaches about tithing for the believer today.
What a different way of living for those who feel called to be in “ministry.” I remember very clearly when I was fresh out of grad school and opted to go into full time youth ministry with a national/international organization. We were flown to Texas to get special training in how to raise our ‘support’ so we could be full-time ‘youth workers.’ (Yeesh, just looking at how much lingo is involved is disturbing in itself). The training turned out to be not much different than what any salesman might get in telemarketing training for selling time-shares or mortgages. Bottom line: it was a numbers game. “Research shows,” they told us,”that if you make 100 phone calls you WILL get at least 10 appointments. And if you get 10 appointments, you WILL get at least 3 donors. But remember to always get as many referrals from each person you meet with or even call because once you run out of names to call, the whole thing grinds to a halt.”
Imagine that! God grinds to a halt. And they even had verses to cite for this awful manipulation of every friend, family member or even distant acquaintance that might know someone we might know (talk about shameless…). The funny thing is that my wife and I almost quit the program then and there in Texas because the whole fundraising thing felt like such a slimy, scam. Alas, we did not and spent months imposing on every relationship we had ever developed. Wait! Did I say imposing? No! We were giving each of them an “opportunity” to be a part of a great thing that God was doing to meet a huge need that could have lasting effects for all of eternity. Truly we possess supernatural powers to rationalize ANY activity. Even today I cannot bear to get the letters in the mail from people I hardly know — often children of people whom I haven’t interacted with in years– asking for money to go on a mission to those godless people in Southern California (Wayne and Brad, you know who you are :). It sometimes seems as if life is one, never-ending stream of fundraising.
How much better it would be if we could live in that simple trust that Jesus talks about, that he will provide for the things that he wants us to be doing, to just go out and do what we feel he is calling us to do and relax in him to provide the resources.
Just a word of thanks for your frank and honest discussion about this key corruptor of the the church worldwide.
Truth is the first victim when mammon is served.
I believe that people will not open their hearts when we go for their wallets …period.
I would never bring my friends to a place where they will be robbed and come under extortion and deception. If the church is corrupt in the way it deals with money ….it will never see a genuine move of the Spirit of God.
God’s children are generous…when they are not under the ‘law of tithing’….they love to love.