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Two Things Every Church Knows About Money

3 min read
Feb 1, 2024 9:53:32 AM

One, it is a stronghold. Spiritually.

Two, it is a limitation. Financially.

Let's unpack that. Why do I say it is a stronghold?

It is a spiritual stronghold because it is a topic covered extensively in the Bible. Not as a financial topic. But as a spiritual topic, it helps us understand how money grips our hearts and causes us to hold on to it. For any number of reasons.

It is a part of our identity. That's probably the most problematic part. It becomes a part of us, and we struggle to let go of it. We don't trust God as provider. We lack contentment about what God has provided for us. We want more. We lack deep joy about how God has blessed our lives. It just grips our hearts and holds onto us in ways that almost nothing else in this life does.


That's why Jesus spoke about it so extensively. Two places where he taught about that are especially noteworthy. Luke 16 and also in Matthew 6. Jesus told us exactly the same thing in two completely different stories and contexts. “You cannot serve two masters. You will hate one and love the other. Or you will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Or, said another way, you cannot WORSHIP both God and money. We serve what we believe is our God.

That's why when Jesus taught this, he didn't say you can't serve God and Satan. He didn't need to say that. It's way too obvious. It's money. Specifically, mammon.

Defined as money, but with a deistic property in that it is attached to the gods and forces of this world. So, in this teaching, Jesus makes the same point in two completely different stories. And he attaches a Godlike term to it. It's a stronghold. Money has such deep power that it can draw you away from the altar of the One True God—nothing more and nothing less.

It's why people ask me after I have talked about generosity, “Why don't you teach on time and talent, as well as finance?” My answer is simple.

Because time and talent are not a stronghold. If they were, Jesus would have taught on it. Money is the stronghold. In fact, church leaders, I would say that people who are committed givers to your church don't even ask that question. So, make of that what you will when people ask you that question.

Money is not only a spiritual stronghold; it is a financial limitation. Because it is a spiritual stronghold, it becomes a financial limitation.

If the people in our churches were to fully understand God's intention for them in their relationship with the Body Of Christ, there would be no financial limitations. And yet, in a country as blessed as ours, our churches struggle to find the resources to accomplish the vision they believe God has laid before them. It's perplexing.


Think about it. In a land as well off financially as America, our churches don't have the resources to accomplish what they believe they have been called to. Financial resources that could be deployed to reach the lost and help the hurting. And that is a financial limitation. But it is directly attached to the spiritual issue. That money is a stronghold.

The best evidence of that is this. The economic prosperity of the last 60+ years in America is undeniable. And yet, as our economic prosperity has increased, our giving as a percentage of our income has continually decreased over the last three decades, now at about 1.7% of personal disposable income, according to Giving USA. In other words, we have more, and we give less.

People will come into the life of your church and say cynically, “I knew it; all the church wants is my money.”

Well, that's not true at all. God is not after your money, and neither is the church. God is after your heart. And God doesn't really want the money out of your pocket, but he does want the idols out of your heart. And that's why our relationship with money is so important. When we become Christ followers, we now acknowledge that our relationship with money has a spiritual attribute to it. It has the power to transform us, but only if we will allow it. Otherwise, we go on thinking that money is a financial thing.

Let me know if you see this as an issue in your church and want to talk about it. Though the history of Generis is primarily attached to our work with capital campaigns, we are helping churches address their everyday giving ecosystem more and more with our Culture Of Generosity Framework (tm). If you’d like to know more, email me at jim@generis.com.

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