Sell your possessions, and give to the needy… For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:33-34
The parable of the rich fool is, I think, a difficult lesson for the American church…a bit like teaching personal hygiene to a rodent…where do you even begin? Let’s be honest here, the American church has taken material wealth to levels never even dreamed by the founders of the New Testament church. “Give us this day our daily bread” was a genuine, heart-felt prayer reflective of a deep-seated daily need by the early church. My church, on the other hand, raised $1.5 Million last year for a new air conditioner in our Sanctuary. I’m not saying God wasn’t in that…I absolutely believe it will bring honor to Him…I’m just saying there is a bit of a cultural divide between the American church today and the early church in matters of material wealth.
There are a lot of benefits which come with that wealth. Churches all over the world pray every day for some of that kind of wealth. It has its perks. But there are some pretty clear downsides as well. And, at one level or another, the biggest downside is its impact on our faith in God. The sad truth is, we just do not need God to meet daily needs when we have material wealth. And when people outside the church look in at us and at our huge buildings and large staffs and extravagant Christmas pageants and decorations, one inescapable question arises:
What, exactly, does our church need God for?
If your church’s answer to that question is not plain…if it is somehow hidden or illusive…then you are not yet finished with your church’s communications strategy. I certainly believe this is true on the individual level as well, but it is especially true about the church corporately during the Christmas season, when so many eyes are turned toward the church as a matter of course.
What does your church need God for?
Would your answer to that question be apparent to me if I visited your church this Christmas season? I wonder if “where your treasure is” tells the story you want your church to tell? I wonder whether your church’s current “brand” clearly illustrates your total and deep-seated dependence on the Lord? I wonder if your church’s Christmas image says, “Come Lord Jesus!”, or whether it says, “We’ve got this, Lord…check back with us later.”
Maybe another way to think about this question is this: What kind of Christ-followers are we trying to grow? Are we trying to raise up an army of disciples who rely on the Lord for every victory, or are we rather teaching our people that the keys to success are strategic planning and wealth management?
These are some hard questions, right? Jesus was like that.