Saturday, January 26, 2008

Financial Responsibility

Scrooge and the Cratchit Family

What is the best way to encourage Believers, both Seasoned and Beginners, to use wisdom about how they make, spend, donate and save money? There are many approaches, and some work well and others do not. More importantly, some violate the basic principles of the scripture and others are very consistent with the Bible.

The Bible does not talk about how to live in a wealthy Capitalistic Society like the USA because no such thing existed then. Poverty was rampant and common people used bartering and farming as the primary means of surviving. Now, we in the West have the opposite problems that existed in the days of Abram, David and Jesus.

We have too much and they had too little. Solomon was one of the wealthiest men on earth but even poor people have more today than he had then. Most of us have in door toilets, running water, heat in winter and air conditioners in summer.

So, how do we approach the matters of money in a culture of too much? Our problems are obesity and more things than we can store in our homes.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer some 30 churches in Cincinnati are doing a series on "Materialism" to combat people who have too much.

The program is called "Consumed," an intense sermon series and accompanying Bible study created by Crossroads Community Church in Oakley.

"We tried to identify what are the spiritual needs of our community, and we felt that it's being on this treadmill of buying things and judging and being judged by what we have and how much money we make," said Crossroads Pastor Brian Tome. "We're not even American people anymore; we're American consumers. It's a dominant influence in our lives, and it's hurting people."

More than 30 other churches have joined with Crossroads to follow the journey simultaneously. The pastors are meeting to discuss each week's theme, and then each will deliver his own message to congregations and incorporate it into additional church activities.

"We, as pastors, really want to make a difference in the city, and by linking arms with other churches and taking this journey together, we can do that," said Pastor Matt Massey of North Star Vineyard. The church meets Sundays at 9 and 10:30 a.m. at Loveland Junior High School.

What do you think about this? Will it be effective?

Will Christan's consume less as a result? (I assume that is one goal although the article does not say.)

Will people love God and neighbor more?

Will they lose weight?

Are folks going to put more in savings? (A huge need in America.)

Will giving rates rise? (The percentage of giving is pretty small now.)

I would love to hear your take on this!

PS Perhaps the most famous Christian attempt to motivate people to share their money is the book, The Christmas Carol. Scrooge was converted and opened his heart to others. The drawing above illustrates his changed heart.

1 comment:

paula clare said...

Hi Gary,
The series sounds FABulous and very timely! As a Franciscan (in an ecumenical order) I am hearing more and more a plea for teaching/speaking/writing on simplicity. That is a very broad topic and includes a great deal of issues listed in your post...WILL people grab hold of the concept(s), ideas, and move AWAY from comfort and ease? While I realize this is AMERICA where we LIKE to have "things" and we LOVE to be "comfortable"...we even purchase "EASY BUTTONS" for pete's sake!

However, I think if we are going to be Christ followers we cannot get away from the fact that our Savior CHOSE to come to this earth and live in poverty. He CHOSE to have very little and he CHOSE a physically demanding job rather than a desk job as CEO of the Universe. Francis of Assisi, as well as many others who have gone before, saw the value and the inherent GOOD in following in the "literal" steps of the Master. If we are going to be a devoted, committed people, can we afford to do less?