Biblical Generosity, Part 5: Do You Look Like the World?

You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world.
— Matthew 5:13-14

God’s people are supposed to be different. We are salt within a decaying world and light within a darkened world. In other words, we are a people who embody a new world, the world God always intended and the world Jesus came to establish. Where is culture corroding, where is darkness overwhelming, where are idols reigning, this is where the people of God are called to engage the world by demonstrating a better world.

So what does this look like for 21st century American Christians? There is much that could be said, but something that isn’t said enough is that Christians must act differently with their money.  

We call it the “almighty dollar” because indeed the dollar is the almighty of our culture. But the almighty dollar is a lie straight from hell. The Triune God of the Bible is almighty, not money. And yet our nation continues its insatiable and idolatrous love affair with money and all that money can provide. It is dishonoring our God and destroying our people. 

So Church, what are we going to do about it?

Sadly, I don’t think we are doing much besides perpetuating the idolatry. I fear that materialism is just as rampant in the Church as it is in the world, workaholics are just as prevalent in the Church as they are in the world, spending habits are just as reckless in the Church as they are in the world, and this is why I believe greed is the issue of our time. The most dangerous idols are not the ones we are decrying; it’s the ones we are joining. 

It needs to stop. And Jesus is calling us to do it. How? There are many ways, but the best way is through radical, sacrificial, painful, makes no sense to rest of the world, generosity. Extreme generosity is missional. Of course our giving honors God, meets the needs of the Kingdom, and cultivates virtue in our own life, but it also evangelizes. The world is not impressed by a Church that worships Jesus on Sunday morning and then worships what they worship the rest of the week. But if they see us embodying a world where Jesus, not money, is King, then they will start to notice and they will long to join us. Why? Because a world where Jesus is King is a better world.

Make no mistake, money is a cruel master that enslaves and destroys its servants.  People are dying for another world not owned by money and things. It is our responsibility to give them that world. Through our generosity, let us dethrone the almighty dollar that the true Almighty might take his rightful place as ruler of this world.

- Rev. Robert Cunningham