Thursday, October 29, 2020

Foolish Pastor Says: “I Don't Want Or Need Your Money!”

2nd Thessalonians 1:1-3, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;”

The Apostle Paul had a thankful spirit toward everything. Paul was thankful toward other believers. Paul said he thanked God ALWAYS for his Christian brethren, for their charity toward each other. Paul was thankful for the money that believers gave to the cause of Jesus Christ. A preacher should always maintain a spirit of thanksgiving toward God and man, especially toward those people in his ministry who are helping him financially.

I recently heard a Baptist pastor tell his small congregation in a stern tone: “I don't want or need your money, God meets my needs!” Humbly said, that is a foolish thing for a pastor to say. Why is he even talking about “I”? The church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 4:15; 5:23). Each saint comprises the Body of Christ. The selfish pronoun “I” has no place in the local New Testament church! What that pastor is foolishly saying is that it is his personal church, and not God's church. The Bible says that God purchased the Church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

The pastor in question has labored diligently for the past few years, now receiving about 25 people in attendance on Sundays. Kindly said, it doesn't surprise me that the church is stagnant and hasn't grown over the years, with an ungrateful pastor who expresses ingratitude toward the people who financially give money to the church. Our attitude very much determines our altitude. God will not bless a church unless the pastor commits that ministry wholly to the Lord Jesus Christ! It is the Lord's church, nobody else's. No pastor ought ever tell his congregation: “I don't want or need your money, God meets my needs!” That is the way an ungrateful man talks! You won't find Paul talking that way in the Bible. 

How does a pastor, who is renting a storefront property to meet for church services, expect to eventually fulfill his church's vision of autonomy in the future, if he tells people that he doesn't want or need their money? What do you mean you don't need their money? Yes, you DO need their money, and a lot of it! If you ever want to buy a church building, to put down some permanent roots, then you need a downpayment for a building. Where do you think that money is going to come from? The heathens? If you are telling your congregation that you don't need or want their money, then you shouldn't hypocritically talk about your vision for autonomy, because money doesn't come from nowhere. Why do you think God sent you those people who are giving you money? You're biting the hands that are helping you. 

Instead, that pastor should be thanking everyone who gives, showing appreciation for them, and letting them know how much God appreciates their giving. If a pastor wants to let people know that he doesn't need their money, that he is not for sale, I am fine with that; but at least let them know that the money is appreciated, and will be used toward a downpayment on a future building, Lord willing. The pastor needs to keep his personal life separate from the church itself. When the pastor confuses the two, people will leave. When a man, or men, run a church, it is a cult. The authority of the local New Testament church is the Word of God alone.

If that were me as the pastor, I would ALWAYS greatly thank everyone who gives money, time or anything donated to help the church. I would teach them the truth that it is all FOR THE LORD!!! I would let the people know that all money collected in the offering plate goes into the church's bank account, and will be used for the needs of the church. If nothing else, any extra money will be used down the road for a downpayment toward a church building. I don't understand a pastor of a growing church, who wants to achieve autonomy (i.e., self sufficiency), who discourages people from giving money to the church. Since that church's ungrateful pastor says he doesn't WANT or NEED anyone's money, then how does he expect to achieve autonomy? Will there be some type of magician's trick? Perhaps that pastor will put a new church building out of his hat? Maybe a new building will simply fall out of the sky!

What that pastor ought to have said is: “I personally may not want or need your money, but this church belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He does need your money, and we greatly appreciate it, so we can invest toward buying a church building when it is time.” For a pastor to foolishly say: “I don't want or need your money, God meets my needs!,” is in reality to horribly say: “I am receiving a nice missionary check each month, so I don't need YOUR money, I have THEIR money.” That sounds like a spoiled man talking, who has grown accustomed to relying upon others, instead of actually wanting to achieve church autonomy (self government). I just don't understand a pastor expressing ingratitude, and even a little bit of personal contempt, to those who have sincerely given money TO THE CHURCH. The pastor says: “I don't want or need your money,” but the people who tithed didn't give the money to him, they gave it to the church (to Jesus Christ). So why does the pastor talk that way, as if it is HIS MONEY?

This is why, in my humble opinion, the church hasn't grown over the past several years. Until the pastor wholly commits the church to the Lord, and rallies church members to get excited and invest in THE LORD'S CHURCH, his personal ministry will flounder in mediocrity. Psalms 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” The pastor has a “vision” for the church. With that bad kind of attitude, his words will run the church into the ground! There is nothing worse than showing a lack of gratitude toward people who give money (the amount matters not). A pastor should always express thankfulness toward people who give, not tell them that you don't want or need anything from them.

Some pastors also have the wrong attitude, that his people gave the money to God, not to him, so he doesn't have to show any gratitude. Well, those people could have just as easily given the money to the next church and pastor down the street. It is unwise (in my humble opinion) for a pastor of a small growing church, to discourage people from giving money to the church. The pastor sternly said to his small congregation: “I don't want or need your money, God meets my needs!” Oh really? So why should anyone give? Why even have an offering hat? Most Christians who love Jesus want to give money to their church, but not when their pastors foolishly says: “I don't want or need your money, God meets my needs!” That makes people feel unloved, unwanted and unappreciated. Is that really what you want? Do you really think your vision to achieve autonomy will come to fruition with that bad kind of attitude? I think not, humbly. I am a nobody, but I see things in Baptist churches today that I don't like.

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