God Heals AND He’s (She’s) Everywhere Luke 12:13-24
Praying over the city at Bruegger’s Bagels (800 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN).
November 15, 2018 · Saint Paul ·
Oh my gosh, does it feel good to be back to my normal routine of morning exercise followed by reading, writing, pondering, and praying. Granted, the praying is all morning long and included especially for strength in my lifts and curls. 😉 I love my job. I truly do—I had a BLAST with the crew in both Rochester and in Saint Cloud teaching classes. I am SUPER blessed I get to do something I love which connects me to such wonderful and amazing people, but the early morning drives keep me from the other activities that give me perspective and greater peace.
Three things intersected this week that reinforced a lesson God continues to develop and refine in me, and it’s all about MONEY.
First, Bryan Ventures, the company I work for, offers a class this teaching cycle entitled WISE FINANCIAL CHOICES which talks about what might be the best course of action for the wealth we are attempting to create. I’ve spent my career in the financial services industry and I am blessed with having some perceptive on this important topic. I have further found that some of the information floating around in the churches regarding this topic may not be giving people the full story, and without being armed with all the information, they are not fully educated to be sure to make the right choice for themselves. In fact, I plan to write a book on this very topic, but in the meantime, if this is of interest to you, I welcome you to attend one of our upcoming classes. Post below and I’ll get you the information.
The second thing that happened is I went back and attended my old church. The reason I left is multi-leveled and ultimately, I left because I felt lead to seek out a new place, but part of my frustration with this prior church was money. I was so moved that I even added it as a topic in this year’s ethics course, but my daughter wanted to go back to this church and we arrived at a service in which the church was asking for 25 million dollars to expand and renovate.
Please do not for one minute get me wrong. I understand that churches, to sustain their ministry and assist people, require financial resources. The question here becomes what the wisest use of these resources is and ultimately what God is calling us to do. This church’s objective is to plant one of their churches 20 minutes from each person in the Twin Cities area. Currently they have 6 or 7 campuses. They want to update them and get more.
This is the other thing that I want to make abundantly clear—this church has reached thousands of people and has been a blessing to many. I am not in any way shape or form attempting to disparage their mission and their role in helping to develop the Kingdom. They are doing a great work, BUT as the pastor droned on about putting all these churches out there, it almost seemed like they believed only they could reach people. Like they were the CHURCH, and at that moment, I almost wanted to “check-in” at the church and post, “God is the healer—the life changer—and He is EVERYWHERE!”
Listen, there is already a church 20 minutes from each person in the metro and in most areas of the USA. If we really care about the ministry and not some selfish desire, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply come together and develop the whole Body? Sharing ideas that work? Helping to build each other up? Wasn’t this the vision Jesus cast for us?
Then came the third thing. After I kind of settled into letting all that go, I didn’t want to write a blog about this, God brought me to Luke 12:13-34. This was completely without thought or direction on my part. I’ve simply been reading through the Gospels and this was today’s reading, but it’s ALL about what God says about money—the money He grants us and what our perspective should be about every penny.
It starts with some dude who wants Jesus to tell his brother to divide their inheritance. Do you think Jesus gets into some discussion about fairness? Heck no, Jesus responds, “Watch out. Be on guard against ALL kinds of greed.” BAM! He then offers a parable about a guy who builds a warehouse for his riches on earth and then dies. Real worthwhile, right?
Jesus goes on to say, “Do not worry—God will provide.” (This is paraphrased. I encourage you to read the full text.) He goes on to say, “Sell all you have and give it to the poor.” Not to a church who then decides the best avenue for these riches but give it to the poor. In all this, these, to me, are the most important lines, “But seek His Kingdom, and these things will be given to you.” (Luke 12:31) And then, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34) BAM AGAIN.
“…given to you…” A good father (or mother) cares of their children. What we need will be provided, and those that lead churches have a profound responsibility to follow His will and not be distracted by worldly things. As I sat in that seat last Sunday, listening to the pastor ask the people in the seats to sacrifice so someone else had a seat, I prayed this prayer over the congregation and I pray it for you today too.
God, Heavenly Creator, you are at work everywhere and in every place. May the people who lead churches seek You first. May they model their work embody Jesus’ life in every way and may the people in the seats, who are part of that body, seek Your will in that exact same way. May we be generous and when we give money away to help anyone in need and to better another, it is always for Your work. We are the church. I pray we rest in You. Trust in You. That You will ALWAYS provide for us as you’ve promised. In Your Mighty and Holy Name…
Please bring your prayer requests forward. I love you.