You might remember the article a while back titled “Gold and Silver are Worthless." The title was a little shocking, but the message was quite clear: money doesn’t get us any closer to eternal life with God. Yes, money is a tool that we can and should use to share God’s Word with the world. It’s a resource that we use to share the message of salvation and to provide for the needs of those who are hungry and without basic necessitates.
But wait…I’ll make a bold statement that might not sit well with some people but here it goes: There’s no point in using money to share the gospel of Christ if we can’t meet the physical needs of people.
Still reading? Phew…
If you think I made this up, I’m flattered, but I took the concept from a well-known book. [Yes, the Bible]
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
I reread this passage after seeing a comment someone sent in response to the Gold and Silver are Worthless article. Here is part of their comment.
I’m not going to get anywhere if the economy collapses and I’ve given the church all of my money. People save it instead for food, water etc. and churches spend it on the pastor, and making a bigger church. They waste my hard earned money and god isn’t the one using it. If he were, they’d give it all back when I lose my job and can’t feed my family. Wake up. I’ll never give a church my money because it isn’t going to god; god has no use for our money. As a believer you should know that better than anyone.
I don’t know the details of the reader’s experience with the church or with certain Christians, but I’m saddened to hear how she felt rejected by the church during a difficult season in her life. That’s not what I signed up for. That’s not how I want the body of Christ to be perceived.
I can’t change what happened to her, nor can I argue and defend the church in hopes that her opinion will change. The only thing that I can do is live by James 2:14-17 daily.
Is the church perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination – it’s made up of people, and I’ve yet to find a perfect person. But, until we realize that our money doesn’t mean squat if we’re not using it to first meet the needs of those around us, what good is it? God doesn’t need our money – he needs us to be compassionate. When we start with this in mind, our money can be used much more effectively in ministry.
Tim is a personal finance writer at Faith and Finance a Christian financial help blog that provides financial insights for individuals, businesses, and churches. Outside of finance, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife, playing the saxophone, reading economics books, and a good game of RISK or Catan. Find him on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the Faith and Finance RSS feed.