Sane Advice for an Insane World

Read - Matthew 6:19-34; Malachi 3:6-12; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Many in our society today are "freaking" out over the condition of our "American Dream" economy. It amazes me how many "Christians" have bought into this so called "dream".

Paul writes a stern command to his young protege' Timothy in 1 Timothy 6. He warns Timothy to warn those that are rich in this present age not to be haughty with their riches. Most preachers today tend to go in one of two directions concerning money and wealth. The first group doesn't preach on it at all or very little. This is so as not to offend anyone or to be lumped into the same crowd as the TV minister.

As a pastor I would have to refer them to Hebrews 13:17. Pastor's have a tremendous responsibilty to preach the entirety of Scripture; especially the responsibilty of wealth in the life of a believer. Money is the second most talked about subject in the New Testament. Jesus devotes 20 of the 109 verses in the Sermon on the Mount to the topic of money. No other topic, in this Jesus's longest recorded sermon, gets more airplay.

Then there is the second group of pastor's who have twisted the scripture so much that they have produced an unbiblical doctrine called prosperity. This doctrine is sweeping the nation like a brush fire through the dry California brush. This doctrine is drawing large crowds but leaves many dismayed with its failure produce the promised results.

Our Heavenly Father has given us clear direction on the issue of money and wealth. The way we treat money is a direct reflection on who we are spiritually. The way we manage our checkbook is a direct reflection of our Christian character. This isn't what we want to hear but it's what we need to hear.

It's my plan in the days ahead to continue to blog about this issue that exsist in the church today. I hope you will visit often and give feedback to what you read.

Raw Facts

Twenty percent of American Christians (19% of Protestants; 28% of Catholics) give nothing to the church. Among Protestants, 10 percent of evangelicals, 28% of mainline folk, 33% of fundamentalists, and 40% of liberal Protestants give nothing. The vast majority of Christians give very little-the mean average is 2.9%. Only 12% of Protestants and 4% of Catholics tithe. 20% of all Christians give 86.4% of the total. The most generous 5% give 59.6% of all contributions. However, higher income American Christians gives less as a percentage of household income than do poorer American Christians. In the course of the 20th century, as our personal disposable income quadrupled, the percentage donated by American Christians actually declined.

If just the “committed Christians” (defined as those who attend church at least a few times a month or profess to be “strong” or “very strong” Christians) would tithe, there would be an extra 46 billion dollars a year available for kingdom work. To make that figure more concrete the authors suggest dozens of different things that $46 billion dollars would fund each year: for example, 150,000 new indigenous missionaries; 50,000 additional students in the developing world; 5 micro million more micro loans to poor entrepreneurs; the food, clothing and shelter for all 6.5 million current refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; all the money for a global campaign to prevent and treat malaria; resources to sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide. Their conclusion is surely right: “Reasonably generous financial giving of ordinary American Christians would generate staggering amounts of money that could literally change the world.