I’ve been a Christian for 50 years. During that time, I’ve been in countless church meetings, conferences and Christian events. We always prayed and tried to choose a good church that taught the Bible wherever we lived. In all those years, I can’t tell you how many church services I was in where the preacher/pastor taught and encouraged people to give.
I get the reason for that. They’ve got a light bill and rent to pay. But as the years rolled on, the message changed from simple teaching about the benefits of giving your tithe each week to ludicrous messages. Preachers would actually encourage people to send them $1000. They would all but promise that if you would make this type of sacrifice, then God would certainly reward you with a big financial breakthrough.
They had so many stories about people who had done this and gotten huge cash windfalls. Of course, my husband and I were never in a place where we could send that much, but we did faithfully give larger amounts than we could really afford.
All these years later, I look back on that and I see it for what it really was and is. We made those preachers into multi-millionaires. And most of us never got that spectacular financial windfall.
What they should have taught is to give yourself away—not your money! Give yourself to your family, your friends and your neighbors. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t send some ministry a lot of money! He gave HIMSELF away!
He laid it all on the line! And He did so that each of us could be reconciled to our Creator…so that our sins could be washed away. Imagine someone like me—with all the things I’ve done throughout my life—imagine if God would give me a clean slate. That’s what happened. All my sins were forgiven and God gave me a fresh start. And He continues to do that each and every day-because I haven’t stopped making mistakes.
As long as we live in these earthly suits of flesh, we will all screw up from time to time. And we will need to be newly forgiven all over again. That’s grace. That’s how it works.
If only those preachers would have taught us what Jesus taught, think of how different the world would be right now. Millions of Christians around the world helping their neighbors, volunteering at the children’s hospital, bringing food and blankets to the poor and homeless.
That’s what ALL Christians should have been doing all these years. Instead, we sent our money to those preachers and now they all live in huge mansions. They have airplanes and expensive cars and servants. The congregations they are responsible for still live in crappy neighborhoods and drive used cars. We still buy our clothes at Ross or Goodwill. What they taught us was a lie.
If we will begin NOW to go out into the world and love people—if we will search for people who need help and help them—if we will give OURSELVES away, then God will help us and bless us. He’s waiting for us to get a clue. And a few people do; I don’t want to minimize what some Christians and organizations are doing across the world.
But the individual Christians are still sitting at home listening to a message about how they can live their best life. They’re not out in the highways and byways trying to help some poor struggling family.
If only a small portion of the Christian church could get this revelation, the world could be turned upside down in a few years. I don’t know that this will happen. I pray it will, but realistically speaking, it probably won’t. It’s just too easy to sit at home and listen to messages or read books about how you can become a successful business owner.