Friday, April 30, 2010

In the Diner

Smoking and money.

That’s the topic du jour.

Smoking because tomorrow begins the statewide smoking ban in public places. A lot of people are complaining. I won’t mind it. I tolerate it for a lot of reasons—mostly because I am here to meet people and I actually get more done here than I do at the office. Funny how that works.

Money because churches want money. When you start going, it won’t be long until someone shows up at your house wanting to know how much you make and how much you can pledge to the church.

At least that’s what I am overhearing.

The echoes the number one complaint I have heard from people over the years about church.

It reminds me of two things:

1. Too many churches are all about the money. I overheard someone the other day talking about being at a church service where the plate was passed five times. Needless to say, the conversation was not conveying a positive image of church.

2. Too many people want a Jesus who stays out of their pockets. It reminds me of the rich young ruler who, at the words of Jesus about having eternal life, went away saddened because he owned much property (Mark 10:22).

Pastors who lease private jets (or own them) do not do the church any good when it comes to the money issue. It is hard to imagine a pastor whose schedule is so packed that commercial flights are too inconvenient. Perhaps more time spent at his church loving the people in the community would be a step in the right direction.

But I digress at the same time I show my judgmentalism.

It reminds me that we, as the church, need to be careful about how we present the money issue to unbelievers. I have no problem preaching the lordship of Christ over money. I believe that giving is an important part of corporate worship. It is why we still take a public offering instead of having boxes in the back.

But the church needs to be careful about how it talks about money, particularly to outsiders.

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