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Cheap Religion

By Lindell Mitchell

religion, articles, christianity

Our society encourages and exalts selfishness. It teaches us to measure our worth on the basis of material possessions. Consequently, we are under great pressure to obtain things.

The Lord's church often suffers as a direct result of this societal selfishness. People have few areas of discretionary spending. Food, transportation, housing, utilities, and insurance costs are fixed for most folks. Thus what we contribute to the Lord's work is one of the few areas where we freely determine how much to give.

Many positive qualities characterize us, but at least one destructive flaw impedes progress. Too many of us attempt to do God's work on the cheap! There is no excuse for this attitude. Tight­fisted misers with God's work are often generous to a fault providing for their own interests. Their prosperous businesses demonstrate an ability to capitalize, equip, promote, and manage a successful enterprise. But when it comes to supporting the Lord's cause, they act like a destitute parent attempting to stretch nonexistent resources.

The Lord deserves better than that. He demands our best. It is time to wake up and grow up. It is a disgrace to squander resources on conspicuous consumption while the Lord's work is under­funded. His cause should not be forced to work with worn­out, used­up, outdated junk. Especially when we sit in finely appointed offices, assisted by a support staff, providing the best of everything for ourselves. We are better people than that!

We must not allow the adversary to deceive us as he deceived Haggai's generation. Remember how Haggai sternly rebuked the selfishness prevalent in his day. God's house was a wreck and his people made no provision to rebuild it. But they had managed to provide fine homes for themselves (Haggai 1:2-10). Their conduct is repulsive, but no different from that of modern Christians who slight God's work while providing lavishly for their own.

Selfishness must not so dominate us that we fall into the habit of offering junk to God like Malachi's contemporaries (Mal. 1:8). Malachi challenged his peers to offer such trash to their governor and see

what happened. It would be interesting to see the impact of such action on the businesses of those who insist on doing God's work on the cheap. I can scarcely imagine the consequences of conducting their affairs like they insist on conducting God's.

Let us capitalize, equip, promote, manage, and support the Lord's work with the same care and precision we devote to our own. Let us resolve to commit the same quality and quantity of material resources to the Lord's work that we devote to our own. When we do, we will be a blessing to man and a threat to the Devil.

Paul said:

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6­7).

Paul further said:

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Gal. 6:6­8 NKJV).

Published December 1996