The latest project that I am working on right now is compiling all my journal entries and transferring them onto a disc, as a sort of memoir for my children. I found one journal entry that I wrote a few years ago that intrigued me:
- Today, I am a bit frustrated. I feel like resigning from the Church Council. It is always the same topic — finances and grasping for new ideas in order to "entice" new "prospective" members so that they would help pay church expenses. In my opinion, the church has become a "business" instead of just simply spreading God's message of salvation. We talk about changes happening within the church's structural foundation, but not changes within our hearts. God is not on the throne anymore. Our trust is not in God, but in ourselves. Our churches have the latest technology in computers, are on the Internet, are continuously holding seminars and training events, including many meetings for this and for that, which create so much paperwork for the secretary and the pastor that visitation to the hospitals, our shut-ins and people in general, are put on the side burner. Our pastors and secretaries are paid by monies already set out by the hierarchy of the church and we are told how much to pay for their benefits, health plan, pension and salary, just like any other business.
As I think about this, the following Bible passage comes to mind:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 – Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. (NRSV)
Do we really trust God that He will provide? I believe that this is one of the reasons why our churches are not growing. God is allowing this for some reason. We need to grow up and look up! As long as our focus is on money and worrying about it and not on people and spreading God's message "freely" without any hidden agendas, we will eventually die — not physically, but spiritually, and as a congregation.
Matthew 6:25-27 – Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? (NRSV)
Prayer: Almighty God, we need to return to You and love You with our whole beings. Help us to put our trust in You and not in ourselves. We pray for ministers and teachers who are dependent on Your truth and who have the courage to stand up for what is right and true. We pray that our newly ordained ministers may have the true calling to spread Your message of salvation and that their motivation not be just a job. Amen.