In the past few weeks, I've heard it from two godly men whom I respect in my church that there are members who have told them they are not giving - or are giving less - because they don't agree with what the elders or doing or how they are leading or the direction the congregation is taking or somesuch.
(That, in spite of the fact that there are other members - LOTS of other members - who are giving with extraordinary faithfulness to help meet the deficit between what we promised to give and what we have actually been giving.)
Thankfully, I don't know who those disapproving members are.
Because I would really like to ask them a few questions. Like,
- When someone in your family gets sick or has an accident or passes away, do you disagree with the elders visiting and comforting and blessing your family?
- Do you disagree with them counseling couples who only come to them when they're on the thin edge of divorce, or letting young single mothers know that they are loved and a treasured part of the church family, or making the rounds of the nursery wards and the nursing homes?
- Do you disagree with them praying for you and your other brothers and sisters in Christ at our church - all 1,900 of them? Because those things are what most of their time spent as elders involves.
- How is your position significantly different from the doctrine of Corban?
- Does the Bible instruct you to vote with your wallet? Or to set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income?
- Does it ask, "Will a man rob the elders of the people?" Or does it ask "Will a man rob God?"
- Does it tell you that you watch over your leaders as if you were to give an account for them? Or vice-versa?
I'm not saying elders are perfect. Nobody's saying that. But they are worthy of double honor, and have authority vested in them by the Lord. They are to teach and help you interpret God's word - and if there's anything that God's word is clear about, it's giving.
We need to do it. Generously. Gratefully. Unreservedly. Unselfishly.
It's true for you. It's true for me.
On this business of giving, we all need to decide whether we're going to be hot or cold; whether we're going to be loving or stingy; whether we're going to fish or cut bait.
Ain't no half-way about it.
And while I'm on the subject, why not try praying for your elders more and criticizing them behind their backs less? Why not take your complaint to them and pray with them about it? How about just accepting the answer they give you whether you agree with it or not because it just might affect more deeply someone whose relationship to God is less secure than yours?
Whattya say to that, huh?
I've said my piece.
If the shoe fits, wear its bootprint on your butt.
Just like I need to.