Perhaps at least the most explosive depiction of Jesus was at the money market. In this scene Jesus goes over the top thrashing vendors and overturning tables, spelling money everywhere. His reference to the people was that they were a den of thieves. The highlight here is that Jesus said his house was to be a place of worship.
I too often in some of today’s churches are various programs, seminars, books or books packages, self-help kits, or various other sales programs and otherwise self-enhancing informational programs. Come on now let’s get real.
Some churches have gone even so far as to install ATM machines in their narthexes. This is really unbelievable.
What I’m really speaking against here is the notion that some churches have become really nothing more than enterprising business. Yes nobody is going to dissuade the idea that materials or people need to be compensated for their time, effort and energy, but the profiteering salesmanship that goes with some churches is beyond belief. As Jesus said his house is to be a place of worship, not a business of profit.
For some it is easy to see that preaching or participating in the church business is really nothing more than a mechanism to earn a living. The dispute here is not actually in earning a living, but in excess. Church should not be synonymous with money.
Anyone can realize that churches require money to operate. However the constant drain on the prisoners for always providing something such as a a perpetual building fund or other needs that go beyond normal ordinary and once again turn to excess. Just as with anybody else, the question becomes how much is enough?
Bleeding people and operating the church as an enterprising agent is wrong. Focusing on the building aside from the real needs of people is wrong. People are more important than tangible, physical things. The goal of the church should not be to produce an empire but to expand the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a long history of the church and its excesses… all that relate to money and abuse of authority and power. And for that reason, we had the Protestant Reformation. The question though becomes… What good is a Reformation if the churches continue to participate in the moral transactions dominated by money?
Moreover, it can easily be ascertained, that what is needed by the church more often than not, is not money, but personal commitment, engagement, and involvement by the congregation one on one in service to those who are in need. We have come to a point in history where it seems we feel we can simply buy off and by proxy insists that someone else perform what we are endowed to perform. In other words, through subjugation we pay people to do the work and service that we ourselves are to provide. This is not in keeping with Christ in his commandments. For the relationship with Jesus is individual. And yes the concept of the corporate comes to mind in terms of the church as a whole. But our relationship is individual… One on one with each other and with Jesus. Simply paying someone else to establish a relationship is not only terrible but cruel. We are not to engage in sham tactics whereas our motto is let’s make a deal. In fact we are to give much more. In reality, God really doesn’t ask or at least want our sacrifices. Instead, he desires our company, our humility, honesty, and our concerns and compassion for others as we do love him. In essence there is no deal. For there can be no deal. We have grace and we have salvation. And in the pursuit and enjoyment of grace and salvation we have service to others and a love for God. And for these characteristics no money can either by purchase or pay off. The truth of it is… Christ has already paid all on the cross. To this effect, there is no negotiation. There is only faith and belief. James teaches us these traits are manifested by our behavior. We are to adopt and integrate the character of God who is holy. Above all else, this excludes moneymaking as a primary target that would induce anyone to play let’s make a deal