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05. December 2016 · Comments Off on ARE CHRISTIANS CHEAP ? · Categories: CHRISTIAN LIFE · Tags: ,

Are Christians Cheap?  Its one of those dangerous generalization questions.  Of course for precision’s sake it would need to be argued that while some Christians are cheap, not all of them are.  But I would like to suggest, that many people who call themselves Christians are beginning to get a reputation for being cheap, and that gives all of us a bad name. There are three categories of people (including Christians) that I would describe as CHEAP.

  1. THOSE WHO ARE RELUCTANT TO PAY THEIR OWN WAY. Since stories are often an effective way to make a point, here’s a very fresh one for you. This past weekend, the church that I attend put on a Christmas festival for the 19th year in a row.  It is a wonderful musical program that has been performed 4 times a weekend for 19 years in a row, and in years gone by packed out the church each time.  In most years, there was no admission charged.  Free tickets were distributed for crowd control purposes.  This year, they brought in Christian music artist STEVE GREEN and sold tickets @ $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  While the concerts were well attended this year, the crowds weren’t as large – there were empty seats available in each of the 4 performances. What has this to do with Christians being cheap? We know that some who attended in the past did not this time because they balked at paying for a ticket. We also know that many of these belong to other churches, and have enjoyed hearing quality music for free all these years, and they wondered (out loud) why all of a sudden they need tickets.  I wonder whether these people realize that to put on an event such as this costs money.  Who do they think should pay these expenses, to bring in an artist like Steve Green, and the host of other bills that arise to put on a production like this?  In previous years a free will offering was taken with the aim of recovering expenses.  I am told that the church rarely, if ever broke even. If the majority of attendees were Christians, then I suggest that many of them were “cheap”.
  1. THOSE WHO REFUSE TO TIP OR WHO CAN’T SEEM TO TIP GENEROUSLY. I once had a conversation with a restaurant waiter. She told me that she (and others who work at that popular restaurant that is frequented by the church crowd) dread having to work on Sundays.  Here are her very words, “I can’t stand hearing how these people who just came from church gossip about their churches and their pastors, and then leave a gospel tract instead of a tip.” Now, like it or not, tipping is built into the way restaurant staff are paid.  They depend on tips to make a decent wage.  I believe that tips should be earned:  there is a suggested guideline for acceptable service, and the figure can be adjusted downward for rude or inefficient service, or upward for superior service.  But many restaurant patrons send a message of entitlement by their stingy non-tipping habits, and sadly church folk have a reputation of doing this. My advice is, if you fall into that category, then save yourself the trouble of leaving a gospel tract.  It will land in the garbage if you are one of those who give us all a bad name.
  1. THOSE WHO GO TO CHURCH AND DON’T SUPPORT THEIR CHURCHES. Statistics Canada says that among charitable donors, those who are “religiously active make annual donations averaging $1,004. If you think that is good, think again.  If that is an “average” then it means there are a whole lot of people who give either more, or less than that.  The high-end givers account for about $83% of a charity’s annual income. That means that there are a lot of people in our churches who do not carry their share of the load. The prophet Malachi, who lived some 400 years before Christ, wrote: “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.” (Malachi 3:8-9 NIV) Now it may surprise you that I am not necessarily advocating tithing.  Tithing means giving 10% of one’s increase to God.  Those who do not do this because “we are living under the new covenant” overlook the fact that the standards of the new covenant are never lower than the old, but always higher.  The tithe is the bare minimum of the old covenant.  In the new covenant, the apostles never teach people to tithe.  When they urge people to give, they advocate generous and sacrificial giving.  If you are currently giving nothing, then I urge you to begin tithing for the simple sake of discipline.  If you give the tithe right off the top, and treat it like any other bill that you must pay, whether gas or hydro or groceries, you will be amazed by how much farther the remaining 90% goes! And before you know it, you will, as God leads you, be able to dig deeper into your pockets to help advance the cause of the gospel.  It is always sad to read about churches that close because the dwindling number of attendees can no longer keep up with the expenses. (There have been several churches in that cateogory in the Kitchener area recently).  It is sad when churches cut, rather than increase their missions budget to help the cause of Christ move forward.

Christmas will soon be upon us, and one of the lessons it teaches us is the lesson of giving. We celebrate Christmas because in Jesus, God who is love, gave all that He had.  He who was rich became poor, so that we might become rich.  Come on, don’t be a cheapskate!

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