From T.M. Schoewe
A funny thing, as we sat down to write, our first thoughts were about the money matters that still plague our country and the failure of our government to correct the problem. How is it Congressmen and women in D.C., along with their leaders and our President, do not act as though it is imperative to balance the budget? Well, we know part of the answer; we elected them. Maybe the better question is why do these very same officials who pledged to serve in a fiscally responsible way nevertheless continue to spend at such an unsustainable level? There is no other way to do it but to STOP SPENDING! We think one place to start is weed out the dishonesty and waste that has permeated the system. And it is up to us to vote and to clear the deck!
Money seems to matter just about everywhere. And after we thought briefly about our country’s financial concerns we came to think about another very important institution, our church. Churches always seem to need money. And it’s funny, because like sex, money is one of the hardest things to talk about in the open, especially within the context of the church. But because sex and money make the world go around, we need to be informed about both and be able to honestly discuss these matters. Although it is admittedly hard to talk about sex with young children present, money talk is hard for other reasons.
Long ago, old apostle St. Paul told Timothy that some people figured out religion could be a means to financial gain. The church has often been bothered by “prosperity preachers” or hustlers who turn off visitors or new believers with money talk and who in many cases were finally dismissed. And then again there is also the well intentioned money talk in the church about what is needed to keep the furnace going or the air conditioner running, instead of the real talk about the church’s worship needs and the spreading of the gospel. Probably it is as the reformer of the church, Martin Luther once said, “The wallet is the last part of a person to be converted.” It is called “wallet resistance.” Sometimes people (visitors) see the church reaching out for their wallets.
We would do well to remember the real reason why money matters and Christian churches gather offerings of money from worshippers. It’s NOT BECAUSE GOD is BROKE! Listen to the old psalm 50 “…I have no need of a bull from your stall or goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine…and the cattle on a thousand hills…the world and all that is in it.” Again, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” The Lord taught us to pray daily “Give us this day our daily bread.” What is daily bread? It is everything that belongs to the wants of our body; food, drink, etc…home, money and all our goods, good government, good weather, peace, health, etc…good friends. This is another way of saying that everything comes from the Lord our God.
We close “Money Matters” by saying giving money (which includes our time and skills) is simply an act of worship by which we say over and over to our world and our God and each other, that we are happy to have been allowed to be good managers or stewards of money that really doesn’t belong to us; and thereby given the opportunity to give gifts back to God through our neighbor, out of the love and thanksgiving we have because He first gave to us. Have you not heard “God so loved the world that He GAVE His only Son that who believes in Him should not perish (or be lost) but have eternal life?”
P.S. To keep a sense of humor about the matter of money, especially as it pertains to our government, just listen to this gibberish one congressman used to explain away our spending problem. “We don’t have a spending problem we have a problem in paying back what we owe; that’s not a ‘spending’ problem.” It was also said by one congressman that our government spends money like a drunken sailor. Well, we know a Navy Chief who will tell you that’s just not true. Even a drunken sailor stops drinking when he’s out of money! So what does that tell you about Congress?