Can‚Äôt we just be selfish?
I remember a conversation with a man some years back. He didn’t understand why our church gave so much money to missions and thought we ought to “take care of our own.” In other words, instead of committing 10% of our income to serving those around the world who have less than we do, we ought to keep the money for our own purposes.
Of course, and ironically, this man was also upset with families in our church who had the same philosophy about their money. That is, why should they give anything to their church? Why not, instead, use that for their own purposes and pleasure? (By the way, if that rings true for you, you might want to talk turkey with yourself about whether a disciple of Jesus can really be a hoarder of the resources he has loaned to them. But I digress.)
My answer to the man was twofold. First, for us not to tithe our income as a church seems a violation of the very principles we are trying to teach the families within our church. Doesn’t God call us to be generous as a congregation? And second, I did not want to raise my children in a church that was so selfish and self-centered. Our American culture is doing a good enough job of sending that message, thank you very much.
We send money to ministries around the world—and we send people to those same ministries—because we think Jesus meant it when he said, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” No, not everyone of us will literally “go” into the world. But some of us will be called there. And all of us ought to live and give as if we believe that Jesus died to save more than our beautiful ghetto called Gig Harbor. That he actually loves also the people of Thailand and Burma and Cambodia and Zambia and Swaziland and Mexico and to Portland… well, you get the point.
This Sunday we will pray for the people of Burma, and in a few weeks we will run to raise money and awareness for our ministry there. We have people in Cambodia right now, working to change a community in the name of Jesus. Within weeks, we will send people to India and
to Mexico and to Portland.
Of course, we don’t have to. We could as a church be selfish with our time and our money and our convenience. But I really don’t want to stand before Jesus one day and explain why I was so tight-fisted and hard-hearted toward the rest of the world for which he died. Do you?
Disciples of Jesus are generous and compassionate toward God’s whole world. I’m sure you’ll agree….
P.S. We have hundreds of cassette sermons that, if they are not digitized, will be lost. If you would be willing to be a part of preserving this aspect of our spiritual heritage, would you contact Kathy Berry? (Link to email)