top of page
  • Writer's pictureChrist United

I'm Writing About Money so it Must be Budget Time


It can often seem that the principle of the separation of church and state also applies to church and money: just like churches aren’t allowed to endorse any political candidate, a church also shouldn’t talk about money.


The truth of the matter, though, is that it takes money to run a church.


Utilities have to be paid. Water is needed to clean dishes and flush the toilets. Electricity is needed to light the worship space and run the speakers and livestream. Heat is needed in the winter and cool air in the summer. Pastors and staff need to be paid for their time and effort. All of this takes money.


What then happens is that the unwritten rule to never talk about money combines with the reality that a church needs money, to result in churches not talking about money very well. Some churches go too far and talk about money all of the time, constantly asking for it. Others never talk about money, ever. It then becomes a taboo topic no one ever mentions. Mega churches skew this talk about money even further where the pastor gets paid millions of dollars, when the majority of churches are small (like Christ United) and operate on a bare bones budget.


How did we get here?


1st Timothy Misremembered


People often quote the Bible as saying that “money is the root of all evil.” This quote does in fact come from the Bible, in 1 Timothy 6:10. Except, the quote is misremembered, conveniently leaving out some words. The full verse is, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” (NRSV)


It is not simply “money” that is the root of all kinds of evil. There is a qualifier before money. It’s the “love of” money that is the root of all evil.


This may seem like a few simple words to omit, but they are not.


What 1 Timothy is saying is that money in and of itself is not evil. Instead, what is evil is when money is loved above everything else. When money is above other people and even God, then that is a problem.


In the beginning… the Old Testament


The Old Testament mentions giving in various places:


Leviticus 23:10 - “When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.”


Proverbs 3:9 - “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.”


In an agrarian culture (like that of the Israelites), harvest time was important. The Israelites were required by Biblical law to give a portion of their first harvest, their first fruits, to God and those serving God.


This meant that God was at the forefront of what the Israelites did with their goods (and by extension money). Giving to God and those serving God full-time was not an afterthought. It was first. It showed God how important God was in their lives. God didn’t come second, or third, or last. God came first. Likewise, in giving to God and those serving God full-time, this giving didn’t come second or third, or last. Giving came first.


My Own History with Giving to Church


My parents were faithful givers to the church we attended growing up. I would notice when they wrote the check and then put it in the offering plate. Sometimes they gave me the envelope to put into the offering plate. In the children’s Sunday school time, our church reinforced giving with us. There was a special piggy bank in the shape of a church that the children put money into. On our birthdays we would bring in the amount of how old we were. Everyone would count as each penny or nickel (or dime when it came to the adults helping out) were put into the church piggy bank.


When I became an adult I realized it was now my turn to give of my own money (and not just the amount of my age in pennies). I decided on an amount to give and faithfully gave it. I didn’t base it on how much money I made. When I was asked to increase my giving, I increased my giving.


I have kept this up even as I have become a pastor. I do give an offering to Christ United. It’s something that is important for me to do for my own faith life.


Loving God With Our Whole Selves


In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replies in verse 37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”


If we are to love God with our hearts, soul, and minds, then why not also our money? If God can work wonders in those other areas, why not in our finances? Finances can be the means through which God builds.


Final Thoughts


We have to talk about money as a church. But we can make sure that that is not ALL we talk about. The most important thing we can do as a church is talk about Jesus and the good news of Jesus. This good news means that everyone can experience the love of God in Jesus: No matter how much or how little money you give to the church.


Peace and blessings,

Pastor Alex Aivars


98 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentarios


bottom of page