Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Giving (Part 8)
It's true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they'll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I'm out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves.
Philippians 1:15-17 (The Message)*
Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV)
The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:6 (NASB)
I can't say my pastor is poor, but he doesn't look rich, either. He's not in love with possessions. He's not saving for retirement. He loves Jesus first, his duty therein, and his wife, Renee. He's AMTC's chairman, Pastor George S. Dillard.**
In terms of perks and position, Paul was a poor pastor. His Letter to the Philippians was written from prison. He intended this excellent congregation to maintain its unity and focus on Christ: to deny false prophets seeking false profit.
I confess: I'm a politically incorrect Christian. Some of my beliefs fly in the face of modern churches. Like this one: How do mega-wealthy pastors reflect Christ? I've read their arguments in favor of prosperity.
But when we follow them, don't we hope for matching blessings? Did Jesus say worldly riches define prosperity? Personally, I stumble over this Rock-in-my-way:
'Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me' ' (Matthew 16:24). I must lessen myself, if modeling Christ is my goal.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Embrace poor pastors. If they don't seem to love money, maybe you've found a good shepherd.
As ambassadors, refuse to look rich. This advice isn't very popular, nor do many Americans give it. But you're in a place to do something new. If you give fans a better example, then maybe riches won't be their main goal.
What a strange consideration: Could our good examples on earth be the greatest gift we can give? Not just to people, but also to God?
To Be Continued...
* Philippians 1:15-17 (NASB): https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=phil+1%3A15-17&version=NASB
** Dr. George S. Dillard: http://ptc3.com/about/peachtreecitycampusstaff/
NOTE: In researching this devotion, I happened upon an ad tied to an online sermon. Here's what pastors are seeing, 'How To Increase Giving, by Push-Pay': http://go.echurchgiving.com/overview-outreachcom-display/?utm_source=Another%20Website&utm_medium=Display&utm_campaign=Advert%20-%20Outreach.com
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Giving series.