(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
September 2, 2018
We live in a time of changing values. The values that we proclaim are traditional and completely new at the same time.
The word “Christian” is heard with suspicion. No wonder! This word invokes images of active discrimination, of Residential Schools where First Nations people were forcibly taken from their homes and families and placed in an institution specifically designed to alienate them from their home, culture, and traditions. Whenever there are values that impact women, minorities, persons who identify as LGBTQi plus, there will be protestors who have signs saying that “Jesus hates..(…fill in the blank).”
Jesus was not known for hatred. Jesus did not hate. Quite the opposite. When we speak in the voice of condemnation and belittlement, we speak against the Jesus who walked beside hurting people and offered hope. Jesus gives Hope!
Some people feel that people who go to church should be looked at with suspicion. I agree. We are suspicious. We who follow Jesus, who listen to the deep words of justice, acceptance and compassion from Jesus, are the minority.
We do our best to be followers of Jesus and make changes in ourselves and in the way we treat others. We will always make mistakes.
Some accuse the church of being in the “Money Business” because we are up front and ask for money to keep ministry happening.
Of course, any not-for-profit or charity is in the “money business” otherwise we could get nothing done. We are first and foremost in the Jesus business. I have heard; “You really don’t believe that do you? How can you run a business, like Knox Waterloo, without counting money as the mark of success?”
Yes, we need money. Everyone needs money to survive and to thrive. But first, we teach about Jesus. The bottom line is that Jesus comes first.
Jesus put hurting people first in his life, so we follow Jesus and put the needs of hurting people on the agenda at church. And we are all hurting people. We must have money come in or we cannot do what we need to do.
If my church ever began to believe that money came first, then I would have to leave.
The world puts a lot of emphasis on money. It is the measuring stick of success in most every arena. But not with Church. Some of the best ministry and mission is done by faithful people in congregations that have very little financial resources. The open-air sides of a church in Nigeria, the women’s shelter where there is also worship in Malawi, the early-morning house church prayer groups in Seoul Korea, all function with little money. They do what they do with much faith in Jesus.
It is not a sales tactic to say we are in the Jesus business, not the money business. I mean it and I believe it. Money is an important tool, but it does not lead people to Jesus and new life. That is our job, with God’s help.