Today's Church and Charity, Truth Is...
"Lord, when did we see you hungry and not feed you?"
These words found at Matthew 25:44 reflect what shall be i the not-so-distant future. As Christians we truly realize that these are the proverbial "last days" foretold in the Bible do we not? Given this ask yourself:" Where am I, and what have I been doing in fulfilling my role a s a servant of God? Will I be found a faithful a true servant? Or will I receive the reception that is described in previous verses 41-43 of Matthews chapter 25?
This not only applies to members of the clergy, but all Christians actually. But this article will speak directly to the Pastors, reverends, etc and their deacons etc who all too often more resemble "henchmen". Subsequently, the information within applies also to the entire congregation.
To be sure, there are indeed Pastors and preachers who sincerely wish to help those with serious needs in these perilous and harsh times in which we now live. Also true is the fact that no one Pastor or church can take care of all a person's needs or those of everyone. Yet, the manner in which those in need are dealt with by today's church is absolutely appalling in so many ways that it became necessary to present what the Truth Is...
As previously mentioned there seems to be a definite emphasis on money in the church today. Opulence is not uncommon as exhibited in the many extremely large sculptures outside of some churches costing hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as decadently ornate and grand church buildings that exist nationwide. It forces one to ask: If the church can afford a $300,000(plus) sculpture couldn't that money have been better spent feeding, or housing the homeless? The same goes for multi-million dollar complexes and buildings they have.
We are in the last days. An accounting WILL be made...Truth Is...
What will you tell God when he asks what YOU did in his service? Will you tell him:" Well lord, I shouted and gave you hand claps like crazy ij church every week, I ran around the church full of the holy ghost every week and everyone saw how "god-filled" I am, or I served on the usher board, deacon board, in the choir, cooked for the pastor's appreciation, etc, faithfully.
Notice that NONE of these activities have anything to do with any of the commissions that Jesus left us with. None involve "going therefore and preaching the word of the kingdom...", None have anything to do with helping your brother or giving your coat to your enemy, or greeting a stranger hospitably. To be sure each more so seem to be self-serving or status building activities that are more traditional to men as opposed to Christ's instruction.
Take deacons in today's church. They handle the decision making on finances, meetings, building projects etc. But scripturally they were meant to be servants to the congregation. I personally have met many deacons who were appointed as such simply because they were business owners who gave large sums of money to the church or privately to the pastor himself in the form of cruises, and expensive clothing and other gifts. Yet these very same men are also guilty of shaky if not outright dishonest business practices, which are actually often known to not only the congregation's members but the pastor himself; but ignored! Obviously the admonishment at 1 Timothy 3:8-10 was not and is not always adhered to here. A dishonest man has NO business in a position of authority or prominence at ANY level in God's house! If this exists in your church and has for a long time, it's time to examine where you are worshipping and consider going elsewhere.
Also sad is that often pastors hide behind these deacons as a way to avoid facing those who approach the church for assistance. The deacons in turn steer the persons away from the church encouraging them to go elsewhere for help; and often they are quite rude in doing so.
Of course there is the argument that the church is not a social service agency... I beg to differ. That's exactly what it is supposed to be. It is a conduit of God, and there to serve the needs of the people. I challenge anyone pastor, preacher or otherwise to show ONE instance in the bible where Jesus or his apostles refused to help someone because they were not a member of their group, or hadn't paid tithes(there's not even ANY mention of Jesus or his apostles paying tithes in the bible!). Not once did Jesus tell anyone I won't help you because I don't know you. Neither did he say to someone, I will not heal you because you might squander your renewed health on alcohol or drugs. No, rather out of compassion he and his followers reached out to the broken ones of their society with love and did so freely without question.
Too often churches are concerned with "being burned" by people seeking money or aid with ulterior motives. For one it was "god's money" when you were asking for it, thus it's God's money when you give it out and it's not YOU being 'burned', it's God and I am more than certain that God is quite able to police people as well as deal with them in that type situation much better and far more judiciously(as well as compassionately) than you!
My take?" STOP IT!!!!
As "Christians"(note the quotation marks), you also realize that the time is coming when the money you are so afraid to extend to others, particularly outsiders as it were, will be totally and utterly useless. You think gasoline is over $4 a gallon coincidentally? Do you even read your bible? All these things are foretold. No, I am not and do not promote blindly throwing money at every person that comes along asking for it. But...BUT, when there is a person of genuine need that comes...help them and STOP looking for reasons why you shouldn't. Stop being so aggressive in interrogating people seeking aid(yes I said interrogating...that's what it turns into often). Stop forming standard rejections that you give out like the bread you should be giving instead. Stop thinking that the stale bread and canned beets that you do give is nourishing but enough to absolve you of not being a "giver" to those in need; it isn't and it doesn't!Stop thinking that the local social service agencies actually help everyone that goes to them. They don't, Stop thinking that all the things that your church donates to these agencies for the poor and needy actually goes to the poor and needy...THEY DON"T! Stop fooling yourself(or lying to yourself) by saying that if you were in the same predicament that you would be satisfied with eating the meals served at these places( if that's the case, stop buying groceries and start eating there everyday...another challenge!)
Of course these agencies do a service no one can deny this. But sadly there are many that slip thru the cracks as more and more these agencies place parameters on who they will help and how much help they'll provide. Again STOP IT! Stop delegating to non-church entities to do what you were instructed by God's son to do. He didn't tell his disciples to find an agency to handle helping the poor he promoted for all within the congregation to do it! Stop prohibiting your church members from freely helping people when they are led with compassion and god's spirit to do so. Stop telling a hungry person on Friday that they have to come back on Tuesday or Wednesday to be helped. If giving them a few dollars to eat is so hard for you to do then take them home and feed them some of your dinner or at the least go home and bring it back!Stop leaning on your own understanding and start doing the will of God for real!Yes, stop finding ways to avoid the seemingly unpleasant(to you) part of service to God and do it yourself instead of foisting it onto others who are not alleging they serve God like you do!Hey they just want a job, you however are supposedly endowed with God's love, mercy, compassion and a "willingness" to serve...right?
It is the last days in which we now live. There are going to be MANY more people hurting and in need, including many of you now reading this. As Christians we will need each other and the only way that will effectively is if we learn true compassion for others and stop 'lording over' folks as if they were beneath us in some way. We already know what Jesus said about offering the :preferred seat' to the wealthy and disregarding the poor and lowly. So why is it that we do the exact opposite?!!
Of course there will be much more discussion on this matter shortly. Truth Is...