Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stolen Check

I read the story about the lady who gave an offering to a church with a stolen check. That got me thinking (this usually leads me to trouble). She used money that wasn’t hers and gave it as an offering. Now, there are several crimes wrapped up in this whole scenario. She’s going to need an attorney, no doubt.

But, walk this out with me for a little bit. Forget the idea of the crime committed. That’s wrong all the time, and most people I know will never do that. But, aside from the crime, are we guilty of something similar? Have we done something that perhaps is not wrong in the human legal sense, but perhaps morally, just a bit off kilter?

What happens if we take money intended for bills and use it to “sow a seed,” ultimately stiffing our creditors? Of course, some of them may not be completely moral, but we may not be in a position to judge them, just as they are not in a position to judge us. (Remember the whole “without sin cast the first stone” thing.) Beyond that, even if they are not 100% biblical in their practices, we still made a deal that left us indebted to them. Now, we have to pay. Stiffing them to play the “Church Lottery” is not moral either.

Or, what if we take out more debt on our credit card, though we can barely pay what we already have, in order to give an offering? Are we placing our family in jeopardy just to respond to an emotional ploy? Do we neglect to provide for our loved ones because we hope that we can manipulate Jesus into forking over heaven’s money?

Now, I'm not referring to tithing. That has biblical support. I'm referring to people giving beyond their means, solely in an effort to manipulate God.

Seeing this news story got me thinking of prosperity preachers, though they are not involved in this news story. I’m tired of prosperity preachers. They peddle a gospel that relies on followers going into hock so they can give offerings to the church. The message becomes one of promising earthly goods to those who give the most. Never mind the deeper message of repentance and redemption. Why preach about changing our insides when our outsides are screaming for bigger cars and houses.

All you need to do is give to me and God will give to you. Borrow from your credit card and trust God to pay it off. Use your mortgage money and trust God to pay your mortgage for you. Really?! Can you provide a Scripture verse to back that up? That’s an honest question. I’m not a Bible scholar, so I’m sure I have missed it if there is a verse.

But I don’t know. The whole prosperity thing seems a bit shifty to me. Stiffing others and neglecting our responsibilities so that we can throw it in the prosperity wishing well just doesn’t sit well with me.

We may not be a criminal or end up in jail, but in the end, are we morally any better than those who give an offering with a stolen check?


1 comment:

Sailorcurt said...

Perhaps that was her tithe?

Maybe that was ten percent of all the checks she had stolen that week.

If that was her only income, wouldn't that satisfy her tithing requirements?