|When the church leaders desire to be rich|
1 Tim 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds ofevil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The City Harvest Trials 2014 are here again with headlines declaring:-
"City Harvest trial: Auditor 'trying to hide ties with church leaders'"
"City Harvest trial: Information kept from auditor"
"City Harvest trial: Church funds used as early as in 2001 to fund Ho Yeow Sun's music career"
When did the auditors become the saving grace for the church, when the leaders are very smart people! even when they denied the funds was ever used for Sun Ho's music career way back in Jan 2003 when Pastor Sun Ho said "I have done nothing wrong", and Pastor Kong Hee saying "not a single cent from church funds was used to buy or to promote Sun's albums. "
We haven't heard from Love Singapore, the anti-gay moral defenders of Singapore.
If Pastor Sun could sing and dance really well and made millions in the market place by her own accord, we'll perhaps we wouldn't be here talking about them.
Landed in Singapore on a Sunday afternoon, and having coffee in a cafe in the city which just happened to be where a mega church Zone leaders gathering was in progress.
It felt and sounded so much like a church at Suntec, where it was alleged that Zone Supervisors got bonuses when the targets are met.
In the casual zone gathering at the cafe, there were about 12 cell group leaders, and so typically representing about 200 members in total or a small church by itself. They each had to go through their list of members, with two key KPI - tithing and service.
The Zone Supervisor acted like a businessmen checking the sales, how to get the members to give more tithe and to serve in the various ministries as an indication of spiritual growth.
There were techniques discussed to get the members to give, and to serve more. Giving to God become synonymous to giving to the church. Serving God becomes synonymous to serving (providing free labor) to the church.
Spiritual growth and maturity was how much you give and how dedicated you were to the church.
These were Executive Members of the church gathering the harvest of cash and cheap services/labor in to build the glory of the church.
Yet, the Ordinary and Ministry members of the church would have very little say of where their money goes to as they are non voting members of the church as a charity group.
There is nothing wrong with being rich, but being rich as a blessing from God rather than by our own means and cunning even using the name of God as a means.
When the church leaders decides to be rich and prosperous, there are temptations and snares including the abuse of spiritual authority, and misusing the name of God for her own glory.
The members don't benefit, neither the church at the end.
As the City Harvest Trials goes into 2014, the world looks in and see how the church was leveraging on the auditors to rubber stamped her intentions to go into business investments even with possible conflicts of interests.
Is the church a business in the marketplace? a platform for the leaders to make money and to be well known/famous for the key leaders.
How did the tithes and services donated by the sheep benefited the members themselves? Perhaps spiritual blessings.
There is nothing wrong with making good money, but perhaps pride came in. They were trying so hard to prove that they were good enough to make it in the secular world/marketplace !
They were trying to justify themselves by the biblical law, as a Gospel outreach, and by using the auditors as supposedly experts on the law.
But at the end of the day, isn't it a desire to be rich and using the church/charitable organization as a vehicle to achieve this purpose in the name of God.
The lesson in 1 Tim 6:6 is that Godliness with contenment, for we brought nothing into this world, and will bring nothing out except our faith. We can't bring our gold to heaven!
At the end of time, when we stand before God in heaven, it is not what we have done for ourselves and for God that justifies us, but we are fully justified only by the blood of Jesus Christ. And this is the Truth and the Grace of God for all are equal in Jesus Christ, the first becoming the last, and the last first.
We can only be of charity when we realised we have nothing but Jesus Christ in our lives. We can't offer anything except Christ crucified and the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.