Money is an integral part of life. Well … not your life perhaps. But money certainly is integral in the life of the church. Money can be a perplexing subject. You need God’s perspective on your money and what to do with it. But you’re blessed to know that we’re here to help you figure out what to do with your money. In fact, in the Bible, Jesus spoke more about money than He did about heaven or hell. Nothing is more important than heaven or hell…unless [of course] it is money. That makes money pretty darned important. No doubt that’s why Jesus said so much about it. And since we’re so much like Jesus, we have plenty to say about it also. When you come right down to it, money is pretty darned important. Not to you, perhaps, but to God and also to us. Yet, the average Christian is misinformed about the real purpose of money. We know this because we are so well informed about the real purpose of money. This means that we DO understand the purpose of YOUR money. Wouldn’t you agree that someone who really doesn’t know the purpose of your money can’t be trusted to do what's right with it? Doesn't it make sense that decisions concerning your money should be made by those who do? The thing for you to remember is that we better than you know what God wants done with your money. Many feel that money is the solution to life's problems. Do life problems keep you from giving up your money? Know that clutching your money won’t fix those problems. Wealthy people have problems. OK, not economic problems perhaps, but problems. Have you considered that right now, your biggest problem may be that you simply don’t know what to do with your money? God has an easy solution to that problem. In Principles of Stewardship the reader is presented with a plan of Biblical stewardship, but also the pitfalls of a life dedicated to the pursuit of riches. Biblical stewardship ... pitfalls of life. Biblical stewardship ... pitfalls of life. Biblical stewardship ... pitfalls of life. It's your choice.
This spoof is based on a title, Principles of Stewardship, once sold by North Valley Publications which peddles Jack Trieber’s material — for money, of course.
Since one of the seven deadly sins became a national virtue, religious quacks have offered somewhat contradictory ideas about money. Biblical stewardship means you work hard to make and save money. But you may not keep it lest you turn to greed. So instead, give that money to us … er … the church. This is called ‘stewardship.’ Rest assured that plenty of plans already exist to do all kinds of good things with your money!
‘Sunday Morning Stick-Up’ is the title of David Lee’s book. If not written in polished, theological language, the Amazon description sums today’s ecclesial milieu, appearance, habits, identity, calling, failures and perhaps some successes with insight that is nothing short of prophetic. And these are exactly the kinds of things which Lee needs to address.
When Jesus Messes our Theology
In context of his summary of our church existence, two remarks struck home to this reader like thunderclaps:
- My house shall be called a house of prayer.
- You have made it a den of thieves.
One of the reviewers at the Amazon page states:
The author takes a theological position that Christ became the last final perfect tithe for us on the cross.
I don’t know how to argue against this. Why? For years, I have said:
- Christ is our circumcision.
- Christ is our Passover.
- Christ is our Sabbath.
- Christ is the law and prophets.
- Christ is our High Priest.
- Christ is our altar.
- Christ is our sacrifice.
- Christ is our temple.
- Christ is the land.
- Christ is the New Israel.
- Christ is the promise.
- Christ is the fulfillment.
The list could go on and on. But here I add,
- Christ is our tithe.
Dumping the Guilt
People have sacrificed and sacrificed and sacrificed and STILL been manipulated into feeling guilty by sermons on robbing God. For them, ‘Sunday Morning Stick-Up’ may be a much needed remedy. But if this is a blessing to you, it may prove just as much a blessing to a church which seriously needs to rediscover the meaning of an economy of grace.
Jesus gave himself on the cross as a living tithe. We still give, and giving is a central norm to Christian existence. We do not tithe. And we ought not to consent to guilt trips because of that. A better church will emerge when believers oblige her to renounce her unseemly attachment to Mammon.