"Faith is full of good works. It believes as if it did not work, and it works as if it did not believe." - Thomas Watson
Ma's blog has really blessed me this morning with this: Chicago Church Money Giveaway.
At first I was skeptical (of course) thinking that perhaps the church's emphasis was on 'the deed' or 'the money' instead of on what Christ had already done. I thought that perhaps it was a sly plot to recruit more envelope-givers.... until I watched the whole sermon:
I was blessed and convicted, but not at first. My skepticism actually grew during the first several minutes. I didn't think that I could sit through the entire thing, and then it happened - my heart softened, my ears opened, and my preconceived notions vanished.
The sermon revealed so much more than a church's money giveaway....
Please note that this church didn't merely pay its members to do something swell, but has redistributed some of the money that was given by its members back to its members to impact their community in response to God's grace.
What do you think, is it easier to drop an envelope into an offering plate or to put it to use for God's glory? Which is easier, to complain, especially when we don't see enough change, or to put our money where our mouths are? Huddling within our own predictable church buildings may be a tad easier than standing face to face with the brokenness of life 'out there' where we would rather not tread in our Sunday's best (or worst).
Church becomes more than a gathering of well-dressed folk, old friends, and cute children when we are asked to step away from our padded pews and decorated classrooms and up to the ugliness of fallen life in need of God's beautiful redemption. Church becomes less comfortable when we realize that we're really not as swell or giving, serving or compassionate, God-honoring or Christ-centered as we had thought or wished. Church becomes a different entity altogether when we are asked to step away from our self-efficacy and into true humility, bringing little good of our own (except a couple of bucks).
Hey, don't we realize that money can't buy everything? We should. Yet one thing more we ought to learn, experientially, that the power of The Cross in puny hands becomes the redemptive work of God.
Church becomes what she is meant to be when she puts her faith into action. But our culture has not wired us to submit humbly under the cross or leadership of Christ, and our culture has infiltrated our churches. We're wired to compete, not to submit. We want attaboys. We want to be leaders too, leading SS and sermons and sessions and studies with catchy trinkets and swollen books and shiny pamphlets and... true submission leaves our egos in the dust.
I like the sermon and the idea of the money giveaway. I like that the congregants have been handed God's Word and a tool to practice what they've heard. I like that they were given nothing more. I like how it leaves much room for faith, humility, honesty, and submission.The pastor didn't say, "You must do it this way," but gave all an example and fair chance to submit to and act upon God's Word and Spirit in faith.
"It is better to fail in an attempt to exercise faith than to let it lie dormant and fruitless. God never belittles those who attempt to follow Him, but He does chasten those who refuse to attempt anything for Him." - Kent Hughes