The church far too often wants to claim the moral high road without actually travelling it.
They decry legislature that is against “Christian Values”. They denounce industries that erode our country’s moral compass, and they preach their good intentions towards the lost, the poor and those on the mission field.
Unfortunately, many Christian’s money is not where their mouth is.
In fact, most Christian’s money flows to the very things they most denounce.
Worse, while Christians are funding things that go against their stated values, their money is stagnant towards things that ‘matter’ to them.
My mission is to change this.
My mission is to get your money moving towards your mission, and away from evil. But we have to be willing to open our eyes and bring our money to an accounting.
If you follow your money will you find that more of your income flows towards propagating the gospel? Or perpetrating evil?
Before I get to money flow, I first want to point out that not all economic activity involves your parting with a dollar.
In this Information age (misinformation age?), content creators, marketers and web developers can create wealth, without your economic participation. That wealth is used to create more content that directly competes with the gospel.
All they need is your eyeballs.
Think of the last ‘free’ kindle or audible book you downloaded.
The author of that book was paid, either per download or per page completion of the reader, without your dollar.
Amazon, or Audible etc, took your subscription dollar, and the data of whether or not you complete the book, , monetized that data and passed a portion on to the content creator.
That last show you watched on Netflix or Hulu was supported by your monthly subscription and advertiser’s dollars. (Even the shows you DON’T watch are supported by your monthly subscription fee. )
The Christian world was outraged when Netflix produced the movie ‘Cuties’ a movie that sexualized 11 year old girls who performed lude dance moves in a dance competition.
Do you have a Netflix subscription?
You paid to produce this film.
Pornography viewed online earns ‘per click’ revenue in order to market sexual products, and paid pornography to you.
Although the church and Christians decry the existence of pornography, the truth is it is a pervasive addiction even within the church.
Barna reports that up to 14% of PASTORS are CURRENTLY struggling with pornography. These are our church leaders. Can we assume that the church is completely immune from viewing pornography?
But pornography is not a victimless indulgence.
The link between pornography and human trafficking are inextricably linked. It’s impossible to know the exact percentage of pornography actors that were coerced, tricked or even sexually assaulted.
But your click, your eyeball, fuels the demand, and places money into the same world of darkness, that you shake your head at while viewing your cable news program.
Without parting with a dollar, the church funds the human trafficking industry with their eyeballs when they view pornography.
In her, admittedly anecdotal, National Review article Marlo Safi sums the problem up well:
“If someone contributed even one view to the 28.5 billion views of free porn online in the last year, he may have watched a victim of sex trafficking appearing under duress on camera. The link between sex trafficking and porn is inseparable, and the demand for it is growing. The public should be outraged. The only solution is to stop the demand.”
“Mommy, where do clothes come from?”
Because we live in a globalized world, so much of the things we use and purchase on a daily basis are produced outside our world experience.
Avocados don’t grow in my region of the country but I eat them.
I’ve never seen a copper mine, but I have plumbing and computer cards.
I’ve never seen a cotton field, but I still wear clothes.
Just because I can’t see where the things I purchase come from, doesn’t mean I’m not complicit in funding the way they were produced.
According to the US department of Labor slave labor exists in the 9 of the countries that represent 65% of the world’s cotton production.
I wrote more specifically about the clothing industry here.
From under-paid employees, dangerous work conditions, even slavery and corruption, our purchases fund the oppression and exploitation of our brothers and sisters all over the world.
Even when churches and non-profits purchase their branded clothes for resale, far too often those trendy flat-bill hats and loud hoodies are produced with slave harvested cotton, and then assembled with child labor. We then as pastors, non-profit organizers or fundraisers sell these t-shirts so people can support OUR cause.
The irony of some organizations say, that proport to defeat poverty, or are missionaries to Benin or China funding the slave trade is the very hypocritical myopic focus, that non-Christians accuse the church of.
As American Christians we think of how to benefit OUR organization, OUR cause, OUR budget, and seldom, if ever, think of how our decisions effect people we may never meet.
I don’t know about you, but in my church tradition followers of Jesus are called to partner with God in restoring all things to Him, not perpetuating oppression, exploitation for personal benefit.
Oh, by the way, all those clothes we HAVE to have, this is where they end up.
Christian Money Flows to Abortion
Do you carry health insurance through your employer’s plan?
A portion of your premium likely funds abortion.
Just 3% of employer sponsored plans exclude abortion from coverage, according to kff.org (who seems to think this stat as far too HIGH).
The Evangelical church has rallied around the Pro-life platform as seemingly the single most important social issue in America. yet the majority of Christians allow their money to flow to funding abortions via their health insurance premiums.
It doesn’t even matter if your state happens to have restrictions regarding abortion. National insurers or national employers will take your premiums from one state and use them to fund abortions in another.
It’s obvious that the health care situation in the United States is unsustainable. When I worked a corporate job and had employer sponsored healthcare, the math just didn’t work.
For a family of six, I paid almost $500/mo in premiums (then my employer paid the other $500). Still, no benefits kicked in until we met a $7,000+ deductible before.
I was paying something like $13,000 before the health insurance did anything. There are other options. Even forgoing health insurance altogether may make more sense than spending $500/mo to support abortions across the country.
As I drive to work I see a half dozen ‘Pray to end abortion’ signs.
What if the church made money decisions to end the murder of children, instead of only praying about it?
Too often we shrug ‘that’s just how the world works’.
‘I need health care.’
That’s how it works, because Christians put their money, not where their mouth is, but thoughtlessly into the world’s systems.
If the followers of Jesus won’t refuse the system, who will?
5% of Christians Tithe
While Christians pour money into the mistreatment of their brothers and sisters across the world, funding abortion and propping up the media’s continued assault on morality, they are reluctant to send money to their church.
It’s reported that only 5% of Christian’s tithe.
and 37% of church goers give ZERO dollars to their local church.
The average Chrisitian gives just 2.5% of their income towards charity organizations, including their local church.
The living Christ dwelling in our hearts.
The call of the bride of Christ to prepare for Jesus’ return.
The hands and feet for Jesus, called to restore all things to Him.
Being a Christian, living on faith means we give only 2.5% of our income away?
Said another way, living in faith means keeping 97.5% of our money for ourselves, much of which funds the continued darkness of our world?
Brothers and Sisters, this should not be!
Followers of Christ should bind their hearts to the heart of God.
But instead we settle for political maneuvering, yard- signs and rhetoric.
It reminds me of Jesus quoting the prophet Isaiah:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth(Isaiah 29:13)
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,”
Jesus said something else about hearts. He said that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Do we want to draw our hearts to God?
Do we want our lives to emulate God’s heart for all people?
Then we need to deploy our treasure in a way that mimics Jesus’ heart, not the financial decision making of the world.
Do we really think God’s heart is for cheaply manufactured goods? Or is it for the healing and prosperity of ALL people?
Do we really think God’s heart is for movies that celebrate gratuitous sex, senseless violence and moral decay? Or is it that everything would be used for his purposes? (Colossians 1:16)?
Do we think God’s heart is for our nicer cars, bigger houses and earlier retirement? Or is it for the equity among the poor and rich? (2 Corinthians 8:13)
What does our money reflect? Does it align with God’s heart?
Idealism Vs. Reality
Perhaps, I can be accused of being an idealist. But I’m also a practitioner. A gospel we can’t practice and live is no gospel at all.
The last thing I want you to feel is guilt.
I want you to feel empowered.
Will human trafficking stop because you make new choices in your entertainment?
Will abortions cease if you change your health plan?
Will the Gospel reach every nation if you start to tithe?
No, But these things will all happen!
Some day every knee will bow, every tear will be wiped away, the lion and the lamb will lie down together and oppression and death will be defeated.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather participate in making that happen than working against it.
The mission, isn’t to accomplish every good work. We are not the world’s savior, the world already has a savior
But God prepared good works in advance for YOU!(Ephesians 2:10)
Christ followers need to realize that just because they don’t see the effect of their dollar, just because they can’t see the evil behind a supply chain, just because they say they don’t agree with a specific practice, doesn’t mean they haven’t made agreements with darkness in their budgets.
On the flip side, the amount of research that would be necessary to ensure that every dollar you spend goes towards things we approve of, is probably unrealistic, if not impossible.
We don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t live in the consummated Kingdom of God.
But that’s where we belong.
Look at one part of your budget this week.
The way you buy clothes, the subscription services you enroll in, the way you protect your family’s health, the way you decide on generosity.
Just look at one aspect of your budget this week, and move it towards alignment with your calling.
Take money out of the world of darkness this week, and redeem it for the Light.
Open up your credit card statement or bank account, review the transactions and ask God today, where is my money working against my calling?
Want to align your money with your calling? Fill out the Mission Minded Money Worksheet and see how much money is available for your mission.