The old song is true: money is a powerful thing. Jesus recognized this and talked often about the power of money. From Genesis to Revelation, the bible discusses the power of money and its potential for good or evil. In this context, it is funny how reticent we are to talk about money in the church. It is amazing how awkward it can feel to encourage generosity and the support of Kingdom minded ministries when it is so easy to talk about issues such as adultery, pornography, drug addiction, alcoholism, and a host of many others. It is amazing that people are so willing to share with me the deep and secret areas of their lives, and yet so often guarded when it comes to their financial lives. Why is this?
We learn very early not to talk about money. For most, our parents never talked to us about money or about their giving habits. We have sanctified secrecy around our pocketbooks. We pat ourselves on the back if no one knows our financial business or our giving habits. We pride ourselves on keeping our money decision behind closed doors. Why is this?
Why do we treat money so differently from all the other areas of our lives? If we were an alcoholic, would we say, “Don’t tell anyone.” If you struggled with pornography, would you believe that the path to healing was found in never letting anyone see your sin? If you struggled with depression, would you find the help you needed if you hid your secret from everyone else? Why are our financial issues treated so differently?
Maybe it’s because we don’t think we have a problem. Maybe we have convinced ourselves that we are generous even when our budget says that we give to God far less than we spend on our cable bill. Maybe we have convinced ourselves we are not greedy when we spend more on our car payment than on our giving to God. Maybe we have convinced ourselves that we are generous when we spend more yearly on liquor than we give to Kingdom ministries.
One of the things that excites me about capital campaigns is the opportunity to challenge people to have a conversation with God about their finances. People react differently to my invitation to have a conversation with God about what he wants to do through them. Some are offended. Some are scared. Some are angry. Some are excited. What does your reaction to that invitation say about your relationship with money and with God?
Just a few thoughts from me.
PS. A great little book to read as you think about your relationship with money is “Fields of Gold” by Andy Stanley. It’s an easy, short read. Check it out.