She had kind eyes; the type that could make the weight of a death sentence as light as a feather. A warm smile that seemed to be painted by the hand of God sat gracefully amid the signs of her age. The service was over, and, though I had a firm acquaintance with my Nigerian brother to my right (we had fellowshipped at a previous gathering and had time to get to know each other through conversation), I had spent almost no time looking in her direction, until now.
She explained to me her disgust in her recent findings, that over 90% of her previous church fellowship's income through tithes and offerings was spent on building maintenance and staff salaries, leaving less than 10% (a meager 8.7%) utilized for evangelistic purposes. It was the straw that broke the camel's back in regards to her fellowship there, and she, by the authorship of God, sat right next to me during this service in her search of a new, more biblically obedient fellowship of the body of Christ.
I don't believe that it was a coincidence that she shared that information with me (and not long after the release of the documentary I completed upon returning from Kenya which highlights that same unbiblicaly commonality among first world churches I might add) and I don't believe what God said to me next should be taken lightly...
That night while I was meditating over the day and the experiences God allowed me to have and the meaning for them (a great exercise I would recommend for ANY follower of Christ) He spoke to me plainly. "You now see the condition of this world's religion. Just like Achan, they cannot keep their hands off of what is holy and have instead chosen to take fertile seed for their manna. I have given it to them and it has stunted their growth."
In that moment of conversation with God I replied, "Wow, how stupid. How could man think that the 90% we TAKE for OURSELVES and our earthly affairs compares in any minuscule way to even 10% from God?" I wrote it on my paper kind of like this:
You think your 90% is anywhere close to
Forfeit gain of self for gain of the body and see that with Christ truly at the head in all areas of life mankind will experience abundance and increase we NEVER imagined nor could have room to receive!
Unfortunately, the reality my sister shared with me is the norm in most contemporary first world churches. Preaching from a GOD FIRST bible, living a PEOPLE FIRST lifestyle, and giving GOD WHAT'S LEFT OVER of their corporate finances after each administrator has taken a comfortable piece of the pie for themselves...
Oh yeah... and lights...
Our fancy pants, state of the art worship facility with lasers needs lights...
And a new parking lot...
How does that even get birthed out of a mouth of a church that was born in the quite whispers of private homes and needs no multi-million dollar edifice to be successful? (Don't get me wrong, good and Godly led stewardship is COMPLETELY different from the idolatry that causes man to rob from the increase God intended to be used to bring forth a harvest in His kingdom).
Let's flashback to a few years prior, before what I call my righteous indignation with the state of the first-world church, I was attending the church anniversary of a church fellowship I used to call home.
Praise God it was a momentous day. To celebrate that God had sustained and carried the ministry through rough times and hard losses; bitter divisions and tough reconciliations. The sheriff even came to town to show his support and the church's achievement won a spot in the local newspaper.
I can still remember it clearly. There, under an ancient looking oak tree, we huddled as a church and relived the birth of that fellowship; which was born under that very oak tree.
Not one pew.
No fancy-smanzy altar with golden cherubims arcing over a $2,000 microphone system.
Just an oak tree and a group of people who wanted to follow after Jesus.
That's all you need. A place and a purpose.
How does the church justify such an exorbitant existence now when such humble beginnings is, not only within the pages of the Holy Scriptures, but also within the memory of the same generation that accepts such environments of luxury as a successful next step or worse; a requirement for the church to exist?
Give me your best argument. I'll wait.
Then answer me this:
How will the church justify such an existence in front of a Perfect and Holy God, who threw down His royalty to be tortured by the very dirt creatures He created in hope that they would all repent and follow after Him?
Are you holding on so tightly to your 90% that you are missing out on God's 10%?
May God strengthen you to do all the things He has spoken into your heart during our time together and thanks for reading!!!
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