Articles

Somethin’ To Believe In

[1]I heard his pain before I heard his words. His voice speared my heart and pulled me in. In the first verse he decried an imprisoned tv evangelist; in the second and third verses he mourned a Vietnam vet and the death of a best friend. In the fourth he was moved by the homeless on the street a mile away from the rich who drink from a golden cup. The chorus repeated “Give me somethin’ to believe in. There’s a Lord. Give me somethin’ to believe in. Only Lord arise!” Here is a highly successful, talented, no doubt wealthy person housing a heart that has no treasure—because he has nothing to believe in.

What a joy it would be to call him to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. If only he knew the someone to believe in who believes in him to death! Then he would have a purpose—a mission to his life—somethin’ to believe in.

Disciples of Jesus have found this treasure and have given everything we have to buy it. This [series of articles][2] calls us to examine “God and Money.” Now that we have found who to believe in, how do we view something as “worldly” as money? With the Bible in hand, read these articles. Consider these truths for those who have a Lord and Savior wo really believe in—true disciples.

Mission Determines Money

Jesus’ heart was his singular passion—to seek and save the lost. Therefore, his treasure was always invested where his heart was. If we have the heart of Christ, our mission will always determine how we spend our treasure instead of our treasure determining our mission. There is nothing inherently good or evil about a Hyundai or a BMW. Our purpose and values will determine the choice between them. Our personal use of money displays the heart behind the choices. So it is with churches. You can tell what they value by where the money goes. Most churches value buildings and banks so they cut missions to “expand and grow.” But disciples ask, “How can we cut physical costs so we can reach more people?”

Luxuries and securities no longer comfort or secure us as they did before the water. In the kingdom we decide on whether or not to keep or initiate a “program” strictly on whether or not it will lead people to Christ. Mission determines money spent. Mission also determines money given. Discipling ministries have been incredibly sacrificial, astounding church growth experts and doubters alike.

The multiplication of churches around the world has been the result of having someone to believe in and being committed to his mission. This sacrifice is the result everywhere the gospel is preached because of deep convictions of personal lostness and gratitude for personal salvation. As long as we continue to imitate the heart of Christ we will be willing to sacrifice for the mission of Christ.

There is a strong wind in the global climate that says economics control the world. Seeing the European community form and the world market begin to materialize, many believe that the real power is in the hands of the financial decision makers. However, the ultimate power is no more in them than in the generals, the politicians or the sports hero’s. The real power is and always will be God’s power embodied in a poverty-level carpenter from Nazareth. He has survived every form of economy and every church budget. Let us never let the economy of the moment determine our mission. May we be as consumed with his mission as he was and then determine our personal and church budgets to accomplish his purpose—because we have someone to believe in.

Faith and Integrity

Jesus said, “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24). The Holy Spirit also wrote, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). To be faithful to the one in whom we believe, we must at all times be radical in our faith and in our integrity. Faith must never be an excuse for neglect or irresponsibility. Likewise, integrity must never become an excuse for materialism or worldly trust in finances. Our faith must cause the confidence of the most powerful financier to pale by comparison. At the same time, our integrity must be “above reproach” surpassing even that of the most scrupulous tax inspector:

“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:16)

Because our someone to believe in is risen from the grave, we should be—of all people—the most bold in finances. Disciples are the risk takers, the decision makers, seeing what no ne else sees, going where no one has gone before. Moved with compassion an filled with faith, we cannot and will not stop until every ear has heard the message we have heard. In our childlike ways, we don’t fully understand, but we trust God will make the money available because its his idea and his heart to see all men and women come to salvation. We are just the servants. He is the owner, banker, president, treasurer and chairman of the board. He wants all men to have “somethin’ to believe in” and he will use us to do that if we will trust him enough. More efforts fail for lack of faith than lack of money. In fact, one brother commented by observation that the limit of each church’s finances seemed to be the limit of the faith of that church’s leaders.

It is entirely possible and absolutely essential that this radical faith go hand in hand with radical integrity. Keeping accurate records, rendering “to Cesar” our proper taxes and paying our debts will always be blessed by God and respected by even our enemies.

The whole world needs “somethin’ to believe in.” It requires money to get the message to every person. I cannot take the money with me after this life. But I can take with me the mournful soul crying out for “somethin’ to believe in.” And that one soul is worth more than all the money in the whole world.

[1] This article was originally published in Discipleship Magazine and God & Money: A disciple’s guide to attitudes and actions that advance the kingdom of God and bless people, by Roger Lamb

[2] Original text: “booklet”

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