This session at my computer keyboard is dedicated to another matter of truth that needs to be told. The subject involves “profit” and is especially relevant to the sacred rather than the secular. The secular world (natural, not religious) operates on a basis of making a profit in order to acquire things, power, and territory. The sacred (religious) is too often an echo of the secular.
As a regular viewer of “Christian” television, I can attest to the fact that the purveyors of that brand of religion are garnering hundreds of millions of dollars every month, or else they could not afford the airtime. Most of the revenue (in my judgment) comes through the “sales” of books, CDs, and DVDs. Also, they raise a lot of funds through “special causes” such as hungry children in Africa, the poor in Haiti, the struggles against sex trafficking, drilling wells in arid locations, and “ministering” to the needs of Jewish holocaust survivors.
I will never discount that a certain amount of good is done by televangelists and the pastors of megachurches. It is the methodology that causes me concern.
The apostle Paul never sold anything. He encouraged people to take collections prior to his arrival for his use to serve the physical needs of widows and orphans in and around Jerusalem. During his ministry, He received a few physical things for limited physical comfort. He never had a mansion, let alone two or three! I do not recall Simon Peter being rewarded for his service; nor was James, John, Timothy, Titus, Silas, Barnabas, Mark, or any others in the first century church.
I cannot, in all good conscience, advocate a complete return to a “primitive” church because we must be equipped to deal with the world as it is and not as it was. However, I can relish the idea that service be placed before self. I can wholeheartedly endorse the notion that offerings are far more spiritual than the merchandise purchases. Additionally, I am convinced that even the 21st Century Church must be more like what Jesus said he would build.
Can we remove the commercialization from Christianity? Can we at least return to offerings without an exchange for merchandise and a tax-deductible receipt? Can giving be from the heart with a purer motive? Can we give simply because it is the right thing to do so the church can truly serve where needed — not where there may be a return on investment?
I want business to be Christian. I want the church to be Christian. Good business operates with Christian morality in mind and action. A good ministry represents the true church which is the living body of a living Christ.
P.S. If you have a private jet, sell it and give the ENTIRE purchase price to aid the poor.