A guest speaker visited our church yesterday. He had a word or two to share with our group. One of the profound items he shared was to not despise the things that are small and seem weak, because that is where God my show His glory to the strong…or something like that..forgive my clumsy paraphrase.
I liked that. I’ve long been frustrated by the modern Christian church’s obsession with BIG – big congregations, big church compounds, big programs, big, big, big.
Last week I visited a church that was fairly new. And it was big. Inside was very elegant, very pretty. Directional signs were needed to find the classrooms, the cafe (…cafe?), the pastor’s study. Fancy auditorium style seating – was this a church or a theater?
Yet when Jesus walked the earth, ministering in a much bigger way than any megachurch in America can, He had no place to lay His head.
I’m not against church buildings, of course. I guess it just bothers me to see so much money spent on a building when the Lord wants us feeding hungry and offering hope for the hurting.
My friend Marsha shared a touching story on her blog. She had suffered some financial hardships and was forced to move to a “less than desirable” neighborhood. Yet on Halloween when a hungry looking teenage girl toting a baby and a dirty pillow case knocked on her door and said “Trick or Treat,” Marsha filled her sack with candy – and food from her cupboards. I told Marsha that I believed that God placed her there, not to punish her for some wrong doing, but because He knew that she would be able to minister to His people in love and compassion.
Tim Schultz, our guest speaker, mentioned that the current worldy system consists of 5 P’s:
The Passionate Pursuit of Power, Possessions, and Pleasure. (I’d like to add Prestige to that list.)
This is evident in the health/wealth or “name it & claim it” trend of Christianity. I don’t want to call it a gospel, because it’s not a gospel – it’s a deception, leading Christians away from what the gospel is really all about.
The rich preachers living in 10,000 square foot houses…gigantic church buildings that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions….while all over the world, people are living without homes at all.
I don’t know where to draw the line between reasonable and excess…but I do have issues with Christian teachers living lavish lifestyles – living like a secular Hollywood movie star or some other secular millionaire. Sure, these people “give” to charity – so does Donald Trump and Bill Gates.
I believe, and I’m willing to be wrong about this, but my belief is that when God blesses a believer with wealth, He expects that wealth to be used to further the kingdom. I’m not so sure that God wants his children to hoard all that wealth for themselves…why would He tell the rich young man to give all he had to the poor?
The Lord praised the widow, who had little to give, and who gave what little she had. The Lord said that it’s harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven. He told the rich young man to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The rich young man left sad, because he was very wealthy.
He was caught up in the passionate pursuit of power, possessions, and pleasure…ya think? Sounds like the modern Christian church – only they call it “ministry.”
Who are they ministering to?