What Would Jesus Do?
When someone asks you, or your ask yourself this question, consider that overturning tables, beating people with a whip of cords, and yelling at people is an option.
Do you remember the story of Jesus droving out the money-changers in the temple courts? Some scholars believe the stories recorded in the gospel represent not just one event, but two. Imagine that. Jesus, meek and mild, got so beside-himself-mad that he disrupted the church money-making schemes and people’s businesses.
This does not quite fit the idea of Jesus being the Lamb. If He’s the Lamb, He’s the Lamb who roars like the Lion of Judah.
These religious leaders were allowing outright corruption in the temple courts. People were having to be fleeced in order to worship according to the Law of Moses. Church services were overshadowed by immorality of the greedy kind.
Greed is called idolatry in the scriptures, and yet, here it is in the temple courts.
Is this a place you would want to give generously to? Imagine a church like this. Would you want to contribute to the work going on there?
Now think of another story.
Jesus gathers his disciples to the side of the temple courts watching the passers-by. Many rich people are coming with buckets of money. Jesus isn’t impressed.
Then a widow comes, and when Jesus sees her, he tells his disciples to watch. She barely put anything in – two small coins. Yet, this was all the money she had.
This woman just contributed everything she had to a system filled with corruption which is in complete denial of the presence of the Messiah. If I were Jesus, I might have stepped up and encouraged her to make her donation to another god-fearing charity (if such existed). It’s a good thing I’m not Jesus.
No, Jesus didn’t stop her. In fact, he praised her. He loved her heart of generosity and dependence on the Lord.
Would the temple use this money appropriately? Did they believe and teach the right things? No! In many ways, no. In fact, many of the leaders of this religious movement would crucify the very man praising the woman for donating to the corrupt system.
Does the integrity of the system give value to the intent of the giver?
Many people want to get a list of all the good things being done with the money in the church treasury before they feel comfortable giving. If a church isn’t teaching to their liking or doesn’t include the program they deem necessary, they threaten to withdraw their tithe. This currently culture seems to have a strong sense of wanting to know what the money is going toward before the wallet is loosened for giving.
Giving with expectation is tyranny in the same way that love with expectation is tyranny. Giving with expectation is a form of blackmail. Generosity is a form of love, and love is not self-seeking, so how can one justify not giving because they have no control over where the money goes?
You may not know everything the church does. You may not even agree with everything the church does. Are you giving to the church?
When the offering basket comes around, are you giving to people, or an idea, or a cause? Or are you giving to the Lord?
Give. Generously give. Gratefully give.
You haven’t been perfect in the ways you’ve spent the blessings of God, and you have sinned in spite of the love He constantly showers on you. You then, though you are imperfect, will you expect an organization full of other imperfect people to be perfect? Will you seek to be in control of “your” money?
The next time the plate or basket or bucket is passed, give according to how you’ve been for-give-n. He has truly blessed you, and you are giving in response to Him – not anyone else.