Extravagance in Materialism
Annoyed atheist Richard Dawkins ask Pastor Ted Haggard why he needed a multimillion dollar sound system that paralleled that of MTV to teach people about God. The question was a legit one. While pointing this, I’m not against good, proper sound system in Churches but the immoderation of materialism within the church should be grilled resolutely. In the first place, the Church exists for building people and not entertaining them per se.
It was Charles H. Spurgeon who rightly predicted, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep the Church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” The Church lacking in good musical systems appears to be captioned as a dry church. The concept of high-tech necessity in Church is not a prime reason for fellowship and relation to God. The Church has become too depended on technological tools that it has become impossible for many to worship God without proper sound equipment. That’s the sad part! Materialism doesn’t define the spirituality of a Church. A rising trend is on the horizon even in our land where Churches are focusing primarily on building projects and not the people. Building the Church at the expense of the member’s pocket is a landmine that the clergies are stepping on. Of course, the tithe and offering are to be faithfully given to the Church but raising capricious funds and tickets by various organizations in the name of Church is but disrepute to God’s holy name. This should be banned austerely.
Francis Chan pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, CA commented, “And if we think we need to build bigger barns, perhaps we should pray about Church planting as a viable alternative.” Today the enormous amount flowing into Churches cannot be questioned as it is highly objectionable. Biblically, the Church exists for the glory of God and primarily for the good of the people. Therefore, mission works and church planting should be on the top agenda in disbursing the money. The Church survives to reach the unreached and to touch the untouched with the loving message of Christ in words and in deeds.
The early Church did not have stately million dollar buildings but shook the countries to their feet. The believers in the first century had no needy person among them. The possessions and wealth were equally distributed to all as they had need (Acts 4:34-35). It was a heavenly community with no poor present in the Church. All were well-provided by the wealth of the Church. It was a Christ-exalting and Christ-ruled Church. The principles of Christ was supreme not the Church committee members. It set itself different from the world that the world couldn’t tolerate its moralities. The wealth was not hoarded into the hands of some few super apostles’ hand but was transparently expended for the poor and needy within the Church. It was this that made the Church to expand beyond its territories and borders.
The perception of the Church in spending disproportionately for building earthly kingdom should not take the upper hand. In fact, construction of Church building is a needful agenda but unduly spending the wealth for materialistic goods is a sign of disorder in the Church. It will be more pleasing to God if enough attention is given to the real Church than to the Church building. In this era, the Lord commands his Church to build the corporeal temple of God, not essentially the Church building.
What good is a mansion with dead believers on the pews? What good is a rich Church with poor believers? What good is a large Church with no missional program? What good are Church services without the lost being searched? What good is money without being used for building God’s kingdom? What profits the Church when wealth is amassed in banks?What good is there in extravagant materialism when spirituality has gone down to zero level? It does no good to God or to men.