Money wins — or does it?

Money wins elections, they say. Whoever spends the most takes the seat.

Some men say money wins women, too. The English language has names for women who attach themselves to rich guys.

Even Proverbs recognizes that money wins influence. “A person’s gift makes room for him, and leads him before important people” Proverbs 18.16.

It would almost seem that money wins in religion as well. Continue reading “Money wins — or does it?”

Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4

In many congregations Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, in 1 Corinthians 16.1-4, is read before the saints make their offerings. It’s a good passage for that. Below are four thoughts on this blessed text.

1. The blessing of limitations

The church of Jesus Christ does not go beyond what is written, 1 Corinthians 4.6. Our practice is restricted to what is commanded. We do not invent new practices. So in order to finance the Lord’s work and express our solidarity with the brotherhood, the family of faith acts within the limitations of his commandments.

This means at least two things. First, the church only makes offerings. God’s people do not engage in bazaars nor do they sponsor or participate in fund-raising projects to raise monies. Continue reading “Four thoughts on 1 Corinthians 16.1-4”

A great soul in a small house

A great soul in a small house is the idea which has touched me more than any other. —Lacordaire, quoted in Wm. Barclay./1

The modern small-house movement is attractive. It appeals to the need for simplicity in man. It allows people to escape great expenses, the oppressive burden of mortgage payments. It forces one, in a way, to fit into small living quarters what is most important.

Living in a small house, however, is no guarantee of a happy heart. On the contrary, if the heart has not been previously conditioned, cramped quarters can be a cause of discontent and discord.

How can one be that “great soul” which Lacordaire praises above? Continue reading “A great soul in a small house”

Are you content?

“Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that” (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NET).

Contentment. What most people want and so few actually have. Why aren’t we satisfied with what we have? If we have food and shelter, surely we should be satisfied! We might want to add in loved ones, as well. But do we really need anything beyond these necessities? – after all, we can’t take it with us when we die! Continue reading “Are you content?”

A punch in the gut

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10, KJV)

Greek scholar A.T. Robertson called the above statement “one of the profoundest sayings of Christ.” I’ll have to agree. Nothing punches us in the gut quite like Jesus sticking his nose in our personal business, especially our money (which is under consideration in the context of Luke 16). Jesus didn’t mind going “from preachin’ to meddlin’,” as they say in the country.

The Doobie Brothers used to famously (and repetitiously) belt out, “Jesus is just alright with me.” That’s the truth. For most people, Jesus is just “alright.” He is tolerable. Most people don’t mind rubbing shoulders with Jesus. He was a good man, a generous person, concerned with people and their problems. Continue reading “A punch in the gut”