Jesus told us to live and love like Him, but in reality it is hard to know exactly what that means. He loved us unconditionally, while we were yet sinners He died for us. It is in this context that I have struggled to understand how to reflect him. In our lives, because we have fallen so short of His great glory, we can never truly be the perfect reflection, but through the power of His grace we can be what he intended us to be. The first area of concern for me was charity. The question of who should provide for the poor is one that hotly debated nation and maybe world wide. I have strongly come to the conclusion that this is the job of every one of us as individuals, not the job of the government to tax and then use that money to provide programs.
There is not one topic that God has covered more than that of money. Wise use of our money will leave more for us to use for to help our extended family and others. I think we can all agree on a few things that the Word shows us in this area. One clear area in the area of our money is in the area of debt. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower will become like a slave to a lender. This is a pretty clear indication that purchasing things on credit is not something that God would have us do, or at least that it is not something that we should undertake lightly. My own personal opinion on this is that we should relegate borrowing to include only large ticket items like our house and our car. Most other items should be purchased only as we can pay cash for them. This is an opinion that it held by many top financial advisers.
Keynesian economists would have you believe that this is true on a personal level, but not on a large scale governmental scale. I come from a classic point of view that says other wise. I think that when you apply the idea of spending your way out of debt on a larger scale, what you get is a larger hole to build the people out of. The word build is used here with great specificity, because on no level or scale can a hole be dug out of. Continuing to dig will only make the hole bigger. This seems to me to be simple common sense.
The problem is that we have at some point given in to the idea that our government should be the savior for the heavy laden and down trodden. Some of our current programs started with excellent intentions, but they have spiraled way our of control. Going into debt to feed the hungry seems a lofty idea, but in the end as the debt increases we will find our selves with too many to feed and too few to feed them.
All of that to say this: Use your money wisely. Spend less than what you have, live within your means. I was told by my pastor once to live on a 10/10/80 plan. This makes so much sense. With this plan, the first ten percent goes to God in the form of tithes and offerings, the second ten percent will go to savings, and then you live on the other 80 percent. When we live below our means and commit our selves to being charitable we will have money to give to help those around us. If we are faithful with the little God will bless us with more, if as many as can will do this those who are in need of help will decline.
When it comes to the poor, the hungry, the widowed we are clearly called as the body of Christ to go to them and care for them. These people are right here in your backyard and this economy I mean that rather literally. It is the job of the church to help the needy; any need for governmental involvement here is due to our failure to be the hands of feet of Christ.
The church should stand for something, but what the world sees when they look at today’s church is everything that we stand against. Jesus called us to love our enemies, pray for those that persecute us and this had nothing to do with whether or not our enemy was a sinner. By definition we all are sinners, but by the grace of God we would be as bad as or worse than those around us. I know full well what I am capable of and with out Him let us suffice to say, that it isn’t pretty. Jesus said feed the hungry, rescue the perishing, give water to those who thirst. He did not say to do this only of the perishing was a certain color, ethnicity, race, creed, or if they are sexually pure. He did not say come to me all who are good enough, he said to come in our filthy rags and he would make us clean. When Jesus was here in the flesh he spent time with thieves, and sluts, and liars. Why is it that the body of the Christ, the church, is too holy to do the same? Jesus loved the sinners and called them to be better. It was the church that Jesus was harsh with, they should have known better.
We need to keep ourselves constantly before Him and make sure that we are indeed holy as he is holy, but as far as the holiness of our brothers that is for us to pray for them and let God be God. Our role is to serve and to keep our own thoughts captive before the Lord. Our role is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, love our fellow man just as they are and trust the Lord our God to do His part. Charity is the place of the church; it is by our love that we are to be known, not by our judgments. What will one’s heart love with greater fervency than the people we have invested our time and finances in?