Money, money, money!
March 22, 2015
Suppose an extremely wealthy person was willing to make a sizeable donation to your church or to your para-church organization. By sizeable, I mean 1 or 2 million U.S. dollars.
Now, what if you told that person that you are unwilling to accept his money. Why? Not because it is "guilty" money or illegal money, but because you are more concerned about that person's soul than you are concerned about what his or her millions can do for your church or para-church organization.
In other words, imagine saying to this generous donor: "You cannot give to God until you have received from God. You need to receive the free gift of eternal life through Christ before we are willing to receive your gift."
People are crazy. Unconverted sinners will give large sums of money to the church to earn favor with God. We are not helping them by receiving their money without first being faithful to their souls.
The Lord's people must do the Lord's work.
Likely, most churches and para-church organizations don't really care a whole lot who gives them money, so long as the money they receive won't get them into trouble. Faithfulness to someone's soul is far more important than balancing the budget. Remember: God honors those who honor him.
This account above is based on a true story - as in really true, not a Hollywood "true story".
In the end, the person who offered the sizeable donation was converted, years (not days or weeks) later. God can take his time bringing someone to the Lord. The person converted was now able to properly give to the Lord's work because he had received the indescribable gift from the Lord of glory: eternal life. He was able to give by faith, for whatever is not of faith is sin. Of course, even someone offering meagre amounts of cash should still be treated faithfully, but rich people seem to get a pass (especially in membership interviews).
In an age where $$$ seem to matter a great deal, I, for one, am thankful to know about those stories where God and his glory are preeminent. And also where God's servants do not panic, but live by faith and leave the outcomes to God.
Money = power. We all know that. But true power is when someone doesn't need a cent from anyone else because they know and trust the Lord. We do not need to resort to "secret and shameful ways" (2 Cor. 4:2). We only need to trust the Lord - often the most difficult thing in the world - and he will provide. If we can trust him for our salvation, surely we can trust him to sustain the various ministries we belong to?
Receiving money from someone or some organization can become a curse. You can become enslaved easily. Even when we receive money from Christians, there are still dangers. It's a wonderful thing when you don't have to suck up to people and keep them happy when they are wrong, because then you can be the Lord's servant. And we must serve him alone (Matt. 4:10).
Being offered money keeps us from asking the tough questions. The offer may, in fact, be a test from the Lord, who has every right to test whether we in fact hallow his name or our own.