"All they ever do down at that church is ask for money."
Every pastor has heard that at some point in time. And it is true that churches receive offerings, and that we believe that Christians should be generous givers. It certainly does not help our cause when we hear about the lavish lifestyles that characterize some of the higher profile televangelists.
Could it be that it is all a scam? Why do churches and pastors even talk about money at all?
Here is a fact that not many people know: According to the late Larry Burkett, a well-known Christian financial counselor, "Jesus spoke more on the topic of money than he did on the topics of heaven and hell combined."
How does that strike you? Do you believe it to be true? Mr. Burkett backed his claim up by giving reference after reference. And then he sought to answer the more obvious question:
Why was this the case? His answer was simple: How you make, spend, save, and give your money tells a great deal about who you really are.
I heard one older pastor put it this way: He told his church members that he could tell them what mattered to them if they allowed him to spend five minutes looking over their calendars and checkbooks.
Today, he simply would need to view their smartphones, but it really is true. Our thoughts and feelings about money will reflect who we are.
Jesus told us, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). He simply is reminding us to care about the things that really matter. Don’t waste life on things that will not last.
We have such a limited perspective. We only see from a partial viewpoint. God wants us to see the big picture.
In the same way that it is smart for me to set aside some of my salary each month for savings and retirement, it is even better for me to think as God does from an eternal standpoint. Everything that I accumulate here on Earth is in some way already tearing up. But God is storing up those actions and deeds that I do in his name and for his glory.
May I encourage you to keep in mind the things that really matter. Live your life, not just for today, but for eternity. God will surely reward you as you do.