Ananias and Sapphira: Dealing With Money (Part 2 of 2)

The Death of Ananias, by Masaccio
The Death of Ananias, by Masaccio

Now, with that said (click here for the first part of the series) – there are some biblical principles that we as followers of Jesus need to be aware of:

Jesus is Lord of all – including our money

This is the main reason why the Bible encourages people to give financially.

Pretty much everyone knows that people will spend money on things that they value. Therefore, if you want to know what someone values, look at where the majority of the funds are going.

As follower’s of Jesus, we are to give our entire lives to Him. What we do, where we live, what job we have – all of these are decisions He makes. The same is true with our money.

As such, we give a tithe to the Lord as a statement to the King that all we have is His. Here’s a tid-bit, the word ‘tithe’ means a tenth. However, this is not really a diehard number – is it just a handy number that is used to help folks out. Lord willing, you will be giving the Lore MORE than 10%!!

Breaking the Power of Money

Jesus said that we could not serve both money and God. Yet, most of us try to serve both….

About five years ago a pastor friend suggested that I read Richard Foster’s book, The Challenge of a Disciplined Life (originally published as Money, Sex, and Power). In this book, Foster made a point that will stay with me till I die. He said (my paraphrase):

Christians are not to be controlled by money. We are not to ask whether or not we can afford something. But whether or not God wants us to do/have that.

Practically, this means not asking whether or not we have enough money to buy a new boat – but whether or not God wants us to have a new boat. Asking, not whether or not we enough money to go on a mission trip, but whether or not God wants us to go on a mission trip.

Is this way of life hard? YES! But God is there – wanting us to step out in faith and take a risk.

As I’m speaking, I can’t help but think about my son. As most of you know, the adoption process is not cheap.  All said and done, it will have cost about $15 to $17K. Guess what? I don’t have that kind of money! In addition, God told Emily and me to stay out of debt so that we would be free to do His will and not be tied down by creditors.

This means that we had to take a risk when we filled out the adoption papers. When we started the process in May of 2009 we had no idea where the money was going to come from – all we knew is that God said to fill out the paper work. So we did.

In the end, God brought in $12k through the generous giving of you all, grants and family/friends.

To recap, we give so that we break the power of money over our lives.

Sowing and Reaping

For whatever reason, there is a connection between the amount one gives and the amount God gives back to that person.

Jesus – Mark 4:24-25

24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Paul – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

Now, listen closely – this does not mean that you give because you want more money! That would be like Ananias and Sapphira who wanted fame and glory – and look want happened to them!

No, we give because Jesus is King of our money and because we want to bless those who do not have anything.

This brings us to our last point – what happens to the money we give to the church?

This is a very important and sticky question – wars have been started and fought over this!

10_52_57---Vineyard_webAs a leader in this church body – the Payette River Vineyard – I am here to tell you that our financial books are open to anyone. In fact, we try to print out quarterly summaries and leave them in the back for folks to review.

We are also committed to financial accountability. All the funds collected on Sunday are counted by two members of the congregation (not married couples), recorded and then passed on to Emily who is the church’s administrator. She will then despot the funds into the church’s bank account – note that this is a separate bank account specifically for the church. It is not connected with anyone personal bank.

We also require multiple signed forms before any funds are released from the church – that way every dime is accounted for and cannot be stolen or lost.

As far as where the money is being spent, well, it is being used to:

  1. Rent this gym
  2. Pay for insurance on our equipment and for the church in general (in case someone gets hurt)
  3. Outreach events (Fireproof DVDs)
  4. Association of Vineyard Churches dues
  5. Food Pantry
  6. Building Fund – the food pantry has outgrown its current location….
  7. Employee
    1. This is a very, very important point. Neither Brian nor myself receive any payment for what we do. We serve you all because of the calling of God not because we receive any money.
    2. The only person on staff at this church is Emily and she receives a small amount as the church administrator – keeping track of financial records, answering the church phone, scheduling and coordinating events..
    3. However, it should be noted that her work on the worship team and as the children leader is purely volunteer. She receives zero payment for anything she does here on Sunday mornings.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I believe it is extremely important that as a church we discuss everything associated with life. Bowing our knees to Jesus means that He is King of all areas of our lives – not just the spiritual side.

And no, I’m not going to tell you to give to this church or how much to give. There is a reason we don’t pass an offering plate – it is because we want everyone who gives to give out of a heart for God. We don’t want to guilt or shame anyone into giving money.

In fact, it really doesn’t matter if you give to this church or not. The important thing is that you are giving. If God tells you to give some money to your neighbor or to someone standing on a street corner –then take out your wallet. If He tells you to give to another organization that is doing the works of God, then give.

And when you give, don’t give like Ananias and Sapphira – looking for the praises of men. If you are going to give, give out of a heart for Jesus – a heart of love, like Barnabas – so that the glory will be directed upwards to Christ Jesus.

0 thoughts on “Ananias and Sapphira: Dealing With Money (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. Oh how I get caught in problem solving mode.
    Thanks for restoring a true picture.
    Note: most won’t say give as God directs; but give here only.
    kudos

  2. Josh – its not common for leadership to say “give where God tells you to give, even if its another organization.” Kudos 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.