Apr 12, 2011
This was a question asked to me, not once, but several times this last month when I was teaching the “Transformational Ask” workshop. The thinking is, as long as donations are going to kingdom purposes, then does it really matter where the money comes from?
Let’s get more detailed....Is it okay if a donation comes from stolen money? Or from prostitution? Or from gambling? EVEN IF, it will be used for good??
The Bible is clear that God is not pleased with offerings that come from any impure source. Consider His words in Jeremiah 7 where the people brought sacrifices as offerings to God only to be rejected because He considered them meaningless and hypocritical. The people were giving out of purely selfish motives (thinking they could buy God’s protection) and not wanting to turn from their sinful ways. But, God wanted loyalty not their empty ritual. Let me ask, would you want to receive a gift that God would have nothing to do with?
What if a donation came from an impure source, but the giver is repenting of that sin? For example, a prostitute who has repented and wants to give away money she made through that? Scripture teaches us to welcome the sinner and their offering in these instances. Consider Zacchaeus (you remember him, right? "Zacchaeus was a wee little man, And a wee little man was he...") He voluntarily gave up half of what he owned and would repay fourfold all he had wronged. This was a powerful public declaration of his faith in Christ! We should count it a blessing if we have the opportunity to be part of someone's faith walk in this way.
One more question we should address...what if we are unsure of the source of the money and only suspect it could be from a dubious source? I had someone tell me “it’s just better not to ask!” and someone else say “it’s their business, not mine.” Really? Consider the book of James and the repetitive exhortation to do good. Then read James 4:17 -- “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Spiritual maturity is to do good when faced with the decision to do otherwise -- to trust in God no matter what situation you find yourself in (e.g. below budget!) Should we not care about sin that our brother or sister is caught in? (Consider Matt 18:15-17, Luk 17:3 and Gal 6:1). Of course we should, and it is for God’s glory, and the benefit of the church, to be extraordinarily prudent in the areas of giving and receiving.
Here's the bottom line...as Christians, if we have God’s interests in mind, as well as the champions who are called to be involved in our cause, then these become moot questions. Consider how Paul describes the Christian life in Romans 15 -- that we should not seek to please ourselves, but be concerned with the spiritual welfare of others. We do this for their good and to build them up. And, we learn this from our Lord Savior, Jesus Christ.
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom 15:5-6)
P.S. For another good discussion on this topic, albeit not spiritual, check out Micheal Seltzer’s blog called “Dirty Money.”
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