A pastor recently called me to lament his inability to raise money for a small church project. Rhetorically he asked, “Where are the givers who helped Moses build the Tabernacle?” I told him, “They’re at the movies.”
According to the Labor Bureau of Statistics, the average home spends about $230 a month on media per month. That figure includes paid-TV, monthly Netflix and other in-kind services; home internet; Redbox and DVD sales/rentals, etc. The figure does not include cellphone service, which could tack on another $40 to $80 per month, per phone. Nor does this figure include the price of a ticket to the cinema $7-$16 nationally). Of course, cinemas make their money at the concession stand. The price of a large popcorn and a large Coke costs $9.09 and $6.26 respectively.
Not only are church members spending 5-7 hours a day on media devices or sitting in front of their televisions, computers, or tablets, they are paying large sums of money for their daily addiction. Few would consider media a “want.” They consider it a “need.” Therefore, money is not an object because these things are viewed in the same light as food or electricity.
The children of Israel brought their best for the sake of the tabernacle. They brought fine linen, gold, and silver. Their sacrifice was so great that at the end, Moses turned away their offerings. It was too much! However, today there is a pastor burdened because he cannot seem to raise funds to build a handicap ramp on the side of his building. Make no mistake the money is there. It’s just being spent on popcorn and Coke. He’s not alone. People still balk at giving money to a missionary or building fund, but have no qualms about cable TV.
Our problem centers around priorities. We have heart issues, not money issues. Jesus said, Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The heart follows the treasure. It means that our will to invest in something creates a passion for the thing.”
I’m calling for the constraint of pleasure and the unconstraint of giving. I’m calling for the church to return to tithes and offerings which is the Word of the Lord. I’m praying that we will become givers; not based on need, but upon desire. I’m seeking for investors in the Kingdom just because God is good and our lives are built around His purpose and mission.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole