Today, I want to talk about a super sensitive topic that I think is at the heart of today's darkness in America:
The list goes on and on with problems plaguing America. I've found a solution: The church! When I say "the church", I'm not talking about a building or corporation that has an agreed upon mission and vision. I'm talking about the individuals who claim to follow Christ.
But, for the church to be the solution, we've got to get real. And, to get real, I've got to touch on something most people aren't going to want to talk about.
Jesus famously said, "Where your treasure is, your heart will be also."
How do we get the heart of the church into the communities we say we are trying to reach? We put our money there.
I'm not saying the church corporation should start writing checks to the organizations who are doing something in these areas. I'm saying the church body, the people who make up the church, should start going into those areas of our society where we claim to want to see a difference, and we start spending our money there.
If I asked you to take your tithe, your 10% that you wanted to spend on a pastor to tell you something encouraging next Sunday and instead I told you to go spend it on a "bum" you saw sitting on the corner, what would happen? You would want to go find somebody worthy of that $300, $400, or $500. To do that, you would need to have a conversation. You would have to learn their story. You would find out that they need more than money. You would find out they need love. You would find out they need time. You would find out they need your energy.
But, if you really did what I just suggested, you would have taken an action to solve the problem you say your church is about. And, you would have spent more on your own than your entire church likely did last week to solve the problem directly.
The sad reality is it is a healthy metric for a church to spend around 80% of the money that comes in on operational costs like payroll, electricity, internet, marketing, streaming, janitorial, landscaping, and building funds. That leaves 20% to spend on ministry. And, ministry is programs like breakfasts, Bible studies, church camps, church classes, missions, etc.
Imagine what would happen if you flipped that around? Church, what if you released your pastors to go get jobs so you could meet the needs of America? Most pastors I know would be all for it, if you were willing to release them so you could go show God to someone. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9 that while he might have a right to receive a living from preaching the gospel (a full-time job description most pastors don't even meet today), he willingly gave it up so that he might reach more. Imagine if we followed Paul today as he followed Christ. What if pastors laid down their paycheck to challenge the church to GO. Would you imagine we might see a spark like never before in the church?
I think this is the solution. Church, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. Most of you will find that you aren't willing to lay down your lives to go find out what is really bugging that homeless person, that person of color, or that person who always seems to be making the wrong financial or relational decisions. Instead, it would be tempting to just go find another ministry you could give your money to so you could salve your conscience while separating your heart from your treasure.
In short, you could easily just go back to leaving your treasure one place so you can keep your heart free and clear for all of your pursuits in life.
Church, God is stirring something. It's time to get real.
Would you be willing to move your treasure into the place you long for your heart to be?