By Dr. Mark H. Creech
A Baptist preacher tells the story on himself about receiving a phone call from a woman who was quite upset over the death of her pet cat, Homer. She wanted the preacher to conduct a funeral service for Homer!
The Baptist preacher explained that this was a bit out of his line, and he referred her to a friend, a Presbyterian pastor at a church down the street. Later the preacher learned that his Presbyterian friend had referred her to a Methodist minister, who had referred her to someone else.
About an hour later, she called the Baptist preacher back and she was terribly upset. The woman said she was at her wit’s end. She couldn’t find a preacher to conduct Homer’s services and didn’t know what to do. She said she planned to give $1,000 to the church of the minister who performed this service for Homer.
The Baptist preacher said that it took him only a moment to mull the matter over and then say to the woman, “Well, madam, why didn’t you tell me Homer was a Baptist cat in the first place?!”
Perhaps there are few things that reveal more the true depth of our Christianity as our attitude toward money.
Contrary to what some may suggest, there is no sin in having money. The problem typically lies in how we esteem it and in what ways we use it. Money should be seen as a resource from God to be used under his direction. We are to use wealth as a means for the health and welfare of our family, for material aid to others, and for the great and glorious task of proclaiming the gospel and promoting Christian verities.
In Galatians chapter 6 and verses 6-10, the apostle Paul gives some marvelous instructions about money. The text contains the often quoted phrase, “A man reaps what he sows” – a text incidentally that really has nothing to do with sowing wild oats, but interpreted properly within its context is primarily concerned with how the people of God ought to treat the wealth God gives to them.
The late Dr. James Montgomery Boice rightly handles the text in this fashion:
“Paul writes, ‘Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor [that is, the members of a church should give money to support their pastors]. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction [that is, if he spends his money on his body or on his lower nature, the money will be gone and the body will dissipate also]; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life [that is, if he spends his money on spiritual things, the Spirit of God will see that he gets a reward in heaven. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity [that is depending upon the amount of our income and the ups and downs of the stock market], let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’”
In other words, the Scriptures teach that while money spent on temporal matters (food, clothing, car, house, entertainment) has value for this life; it still provides no lasting fruit for eternity. Money, however, spent in obedience to God – resources given to further those things which are eternal (the gospel and the many other causes of Christ) – has value for this life and the one to come.
Here’s a critical question, what does your checkbook demonstrate that you are doing with your discretionary income? Whatever you are spending most of that money on shows a great deal about your heart’s desire.
Here’s another critical question, does your checkbook indicate that you have made any real sacrifices for the kingdom of God? No one better demonstrated the principle of sacrificial giving than Jesus. The Bible says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich…(2 Cor. 8:9).
Boice also points out another great truth from the apostle’s instructions in Galatians on giving. The apostle says we are not to grow “weary in well doing.” Boice writes:
“I sometimes think, as I see the numerous requests that come to a church for money – many from worthwhile causes – and as I pass along scores of these to the members of my congregation as objects for their giving, that there is no end to the task and that responding to the needs themselves seems burdensome. Perhaps you feel this at times, and you become weary. Well, Paul knew this too, for he refers to it. And yet, he says we are not to complain. There will always be one more cause for an offering, but let us give to it as best we are able. Let us not become weary. Let us take confidence in the promise that we shall reap eventually (in this life and in heaven) if we do not lose heart.”
If you are concerned about your giving (as every Christian should be concerned), then begin by yielding yourself completely to Christ, seek out a high and lofty spiritual cause, and trust the Lord to lead you into the pattern of persistent acts of sacrificial giving.
May I suggest that you consider giving generously to the Christian Action League’s efforts to protect marriage in North Carolina as one man and one woman? Campaign expenses are very high, running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, such money is necessary for having a comparable and winning campaign.
I know of fewer causes more connected to Christ than the cause of marriage. When marriage is strong the culture is strong. Moreover, marriage is the primary means that God ordained for passing the gospel down from one generation to the next.
Although gifts to the Christian Action League serve to address a host of social issues from a Christian worldview, I can assure you that protecting marriage is a priority with us. Gifts to the League are also confidential.
We must keep marriage as one man and one woman in this state. That’s what the Marriage Amendment is all about.
Perhaps you or your church would send $1000 or more right away. Of course, any gift will be appreciated. You can send your gift to:
Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
809 Spring Forest Road
Raleigh, North Carolina, 27609
Let me encourage you to make haste. This campaign is in a sprint to the finish (May 8th) and not just a run.
And, if you will send $1000, I’ll preach the funeral for your cat, dog, hamster, gerbil, parrot, whatever – no questions asked.