Briefing #349 Your money and your heart

Your money and your heart

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Tony Payne

Speaking about money

I'm a great believer in learning from others—especially from people you don't agree with. For example, one of the things evangelicals can learn from our pentecostal brothers is how often and how directly they speak about money. Pentecostal pastors, on the whole, seem to suffer no embarrassment in asking their people for money. In fact, it is common for pentecostal churches to have two sermons each week—a shortish one just before the collection to motivate and exhort people to give generously, and then the main message for the day.

To many of us, this feels a bit ‘icky’. We don't want to manipulate people, and we don't want to be seen as hungry for money. And we may also wish that these same churches would teach as often about greed and the dangers of money as they do about generosity.

But at the same time, this should give us pause and prompt us to consider our own practices. Are we a bit too embarrassed to invite and urge other people to give generously? Does our personal distaste, or our fear of appearing like money-grubbing tele-evangelists, lead us to downplay the demand that the gospel places on our wallets?

Jesus was certainly very open about that demand. For Jesus, the coming kingdom of God cast its light on everything, including our money—and especially our money. According to Jesus, if money owns your heart, you don't belong in God's kingdom. And if you do long for God's kingdom, that longing will change radically the way you think about and deal with your cash.

These ideas form the heart of our feature articles in this Briefing. Ben Underwood thinks about the time that Jesus wore Prada (or the first-century equivalent), and Alan Stewart looks at Luke 16, one of the most explosive and challenging chapters in the Bible about money. We're also pleased to bring you Ben Pfahlert's fresh and funny look at the often-despised art of fundraising. TP

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  • Would Jesus wear Prada?—How should Christians think about money and materialism in a world caught up in luxury fever? Ben Underwood investigates.
  • Your money and your heart—Al Stewart takes us through some troubling teaching in Luke 16 in order to expose our hearts.
  • Putting the FUN back in fundraising—Fundraising is the kind of activity that makes pastors sigh and their congregations cringe. But it needn't be like that. As Ben Pfahlert argues, we're just looking at it the wrong way.

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