My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? - James 2:1-7
Two of the greatest illusions in this world are the following:
more money equals more power
higher credit equals higher capital
These are illusions in that they give the false pretense of controlling our destiny apart from the Sovereign Hand of God. Even in Christendom is the amassing of wealth and power that denies the very teachings of Christ. What is created is a vacuum between the clergy and laity. Why? The clergy manages the purse!
Mind you, not all church/ministry leaders fail in the area of finances. It is a very rare breed of believer that maintains impartiality when money is involved. But even the best of us can be swayed by money.
Look at the general decisions passed by ministries. Assigned parking, assigned seating, approved ministries! Think of the things sponsored because money was given rather than the right thing because the need was already there!
There was a ministry that received handsome funds for their educational institution. However, the requirement was to build a sports facility and nothing else! Mind you, it was the money offered as a gift. Yet, do we really need another entertainment related activity? Is it really that important to look more like the world to be effective in reaching the world?
The worse manifestation is fundraising endeavors that reward higher contributors with the fame of seeing their names on plaques or bricks in newly raised construction projects! What better way to highlight a person’s poverty or insignificance than to constantly remind them of missed opportunities!
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 3:11
Is it admirable that people give their funds to bless ministries? Most definitely! But the Bible doesn’t material wealth as the standard of holiness and righteousness.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." - Luke 21:1-4
Our intentions are on fully display with God! We may believe that we have hidden our agendas but the truth always comes out. Until that moment of revelation, lives are destroyed in the wake of our pseudo-benevolence. It is imperative that we not let being in perceived positions of power thwart the goal of sharing the Richness of God, the only wealth that matters!
This is not an attack on wealth. Wealth, in and of itself, is not a bad thing! Great things can be done with wealth. But we need to recognize the failures of ministries to remain focused on the goal of God’s glory through our obedience and discipleship. Unfortunately, money gets in the way! Don’t let money get in the way! Most important: avoid favoritism to anything but God’s glory!