God and Money: Prayer Won’t Fix People’s Finances

prayingBy M. Ellis, Special Guest Writer

The other day a friend invited me to her church because she knows that I’m interested in finance and the minister was beginning a series on God and finance. I almost declined because the thought of a minister preaching on God and finance gives me the heebie jeebies. I’ve often thought that religion and money ought to be kept separate, at least in public forums. In my experience, when a minister starts talking about finance in church it’s for one of three reasons: First, the church needs money and the minister uses his pulpit as a fundraising tool. Second, it’s because the church is trying to become more “relevant” to its members and thus offers financial advice (or parenting, business, psychological, or health advice-whatever is the trend of the moment) thinly disguised as a sermon.

Or, third (and most common in my experience), a pastor talks about finance because he wants to terrify people into “believing.” It seems like I see this one more often when the economy goes south. Because more people are hurting during down times, the minister seizes this chance to tell people that their financial troubles will be solved if they just pray harder, give more to the church, and come to church more often. It becomes a recruitment tool.

I know I sound cynical, but I’ve never heard any preacher or minister treat the subject differently and I’ve been to plenty of churches spanning almost every denomination. But since I try to keep an open mind about these things, I went with my friend to see what this particular pastor would say.

I wasn’t surprised at what I heard from this minister. Given the current economic climate, he went for the third approach. The gist of the sermon was that, if you are suffering financial hardships or are well off, it’s a direct result of your faith (or lack of). You are struggling because you have not been faithful, or because you have not demonstrated that faith through large donations to the church. If you just pray harder, give to the church, and live well, God will take care of your financial problems. If you are well off, it’s because you have done the “right” things in God’s eyes. “Come to our church, join our faith,” he says, “and we will put you on a path to financial success with God’s help. Be sure to sign up for our financial classes before you leave.” Thus the recruitment drive begins.

This certainly isn’t the first minister or financial advisor with a religious agenda I’ve heard talk like this. Joel Osteen has made a whole career and built an entire mega-church on much the same advice. He’s more financial guru than pastor most days. Dave Ramsey doesn’t go quite so far, but his advice definitely has undercurrents of this same message. There are plenty of finance books written from a religious perspective that all espouse this idea that, “If you have a good relationship with God and the church, you will be financially rewarded.”

I’m not about to tell anyone how to pray or what to pray for. That’s between you and your God. But I get aggravated when I see ministers promoting the “You just need to pray harder and give more to the church” approach to personal finance (or anything else, for that matter). Yes, I believe there are, very rarely, miracles where for reasons unknown to us someone in dire need suddenly comes into great wealth. I don’t deny that there are things we cannot explain. And I don’t deny that prayer, however and to whomever you choose to address it, can be a powerful vehicle for understanding yourself and the world around you that can lead you to get your life straightened out.

But I also know that prayer alone won’t solve most people’s financial troubles and I think it’s irresponsible for a minister to make it sound as though all you have to do is pray harder and/or give more money to the church. If it were that easy, wouldn’t we all be rich? We’d all be in church every Sunday, praying hard and giving everything we have. The righteous would have plenty of money and the cheats, cons, and criminals would have none. In practice, however, we all know it doesn’t work that way. There are plenty of good, devoted, church-going people who are poor, and plenty of cheats and crooks (some of whom are ministers or religious leaders themselves) who are rolling in it. If you have financial problems, does it mean that you weren’t good enough, or faithful enough to be deserving? No. It might mean you are being tested or that there is another plan for your life. If you are wealthy, does it mean that you are superior to others in God’s eyes, that you are perfect? Of course not.

What aggravates me most is that this sort of “pray harder, give more” thinking discourages any real action, such as going back to school, getting a better job, or saving money that will lead to a better financial picture regardless of whether your prayers are answered or not. People tend to rest on their prayer. “I’m praying harder,” they say. “It will all be taken care of so I don’t have to do anything.”

In fact, such preachings often encourage irresponsible behavior such as gambling and playing the lottery because people start thinking, “Well, I prayed about it and since praying is all I have to do, then this pull of the slot or this lottery ticket will bring me my fortune.” People may also begin to give more to the church than they can really afford because they think their giving will bring them riches. For people who are already struggling, this puts them further in the hole. It’s good for the church, but bad for the individual.

That’s not to say that this advice is always badly meant or part of a great scam to trick people into giving to the church. There is value in praying about your financial struggles. You might not receive unlimited wealth as a result, but you might gain some insight that leads you to quit your job and start a profitable business, for example. You might tune out the noise in your head long enough to hear or feel what steps you should take now to right your financial ship in the future.

And it’s not to say that you shouldn’t give to the church, if your faith and values lead you to do that. However, you should be wary of giving more than you can afford based on a minister’s promise of great returns. You might not see those returns for many years, if ever, and if you need the money to feed your family today, it would be unwise to bet all of your money on such a promise. Give only what you can afford. I have to believe that God understands that people cannot give limitless amounts, particularly people that are struggling. But if you want to make giving a priority, it might help to pray about your situation and see if you are led to cut back in other, less “ideal” areas such as smoking, drinking, gambling, shopping, etc. in order to free up more money to give.

Prayer, religion, and giving to the church can all be part of a sound overall financial plan that includes both religious faith and secular action. But they should be a part of the plan, not the whole solution. Certainly it’s worthwhile to take your troubles to your God and ask for help. However, solving your financial problems requires some action on your part, as well. You’re going to have to spend less, earn more, save more, or some combination of the three. Go to church if you want to and if it brings you happiness, but don’t fall for a minister’s recruitment drive based on promises of riches.

Maybe it’s telling that our currency says, “In God We Trust,” yet it was Benjamin Franklin (whose picture is on the $100 dollar bill and who was a noted advocate of thrift and frugality) who said, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Image courtesy of kalandrakas

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52 Responses to God and Money: Prayer Won’t Fix People’s Finances

  1. Karen says:

    Hi, It was interesting to read what you wrote this morning. Just yesterday when we left church I vented a bit to my husband. I shared that during these challenging times in the world that the church could do more to help people. I believe they could share ways to look at money that relate to a persons value system. I know I feel a bit of fear about some of the issues in the world. Money, gas prices, war, illness, poverty etc… are just a FEW topics I feel that the church could assist people with. I would go and just be open minded. Take away from it what suites you and let the rest there. I only wish our church would incorporate some teachings about the daily challenges we face. I know that all the bible readings have meaning but I want to come away from a service knowing a bit more on how to apply the lesson to my life.

  2. ActYourWage says:

    I don’t know where you have been to church but I have yet to hear a pastor talk like this, but I am sure there is many that preach like that. Work and investing is what pays off, not just going to church and saying a simple prayer and your rich. I give to the only true God, the Lord Jesus Christ and let him decide how to use the money. I don’t just give to the church or pray harder and expect to be rich, that is crazy. If the Lord wants me to have more money He will, if not that’s ok too. BTW, the Dave Ramsey comment is far from correct.


  3. Karen says:

    That’s too bad you had that experience esp. since I just shared that I only wish the church would just for once approach the subject of money. I teach a budgeting class and my husband suggested a contact the church and offer to do a series on finances. I guess I have never heard topics covered in church that I feel I need to ask the priest to please start teaching what we really could apply. I know our church is not one that does the scare technique as they don’t even collect money. We always give a donation but they NEVER mention money. Here is a saying I like-Prayer without action is wasted prayer. I do know what type of churches you spoke about as I have been to services that used the fear and only prayer techniques.

  4. Courtney says:

    I would say you walked into the sermon with a cynical mindset. This blog entry was written before you took a step into the sanctuary.

    I am a devout Christian, and I travel in circles with other devout Christians. I have never met one who believed that praying alone would solve financial problems. If we believed that’s how it works, as you said, I’d simply pray for a million dollars and be all set! “God helps those who help themselves.”

    God will not drop a million dollars into your lap. However, I have had at least a dozen times where money was tight – I had no idea where it would come from – and then an unexpected college financial aid check appeared, or an opportunity presented itself that allowed me additional money. God will give you open eyes to these opportunities. God gives you hands so that you can work. God gives you a agile mind so that you can use it. To us, donating money to the church is not an “investment”, but a thank-you for our blessings and a recognition that the money and resources we have does not come from us. It is all supplied by a higher power that gives us opportunities and the ability to take advantage of them. As long as your spirit is sincere, it is impossible to “under-” or “overgive”. I do know people in dire financial straits who donate just a dollar every week. Even though the amount is small, they feel powerful over this small amount of control and strong faithfulness in giving.

    I hope this is the message that pastor was trying to get across and it was just misunderstood, and I hope you understand what I’m trying to say here. Money itself is not Christian or unChristian, but our attitudes toward it can make it so. God will provide for your livelihood, but He will not necessarily make you wealthy.

    That said, there are some flim-flammers out there that try to associate Christianity with wealth. Anyone see those awful infomercials with that snake-oil pastor advertising for his “holy water”, then showing pictures of sports cars and fancy houses?? Terrible!

  5. inhisname says:

    The reason that you don’t get the money that you pray for is because God doesn’t believe you deserve it. If He does, then you will. You aren’t praying hard enough.

    I’m tired of people using religious bigotry to say that God doesn’t help the less fortunate. If you believe in Him, He always comes through with what you need. If He doesn’t, it’s because you don’t have enough faith.

    I think the person that wrote this article is not a true Christian and is working for the devil. It’s all lies because God always listens to those that truly believe.

    Everything you have is because God wanted you to have it. Everything you don’t have is because He thinks you don’t deserve it at this point.

  6. christine says:

    This is the worst case of religious persecution I have ever seen and completely uncalled for. I will no longer read this blog!

  7. delvin says:

    Jesus freaking Christ people. This is exactly what I hate about religion. God does not control your finances. You do. If you think that god only gives money to those that deserve it, please explain Paris Hilton to me.

  8. grace says:

    Every time I have needed money, God has provided it for me. I know prayer works because I have seen it work. Like when I lost my paycheck and needed the money for groceries. I say an prayed for 2 straight hours. The next day I found the check so I could buy what I needed.

  9. Lau says:

    Thanks delvin, that was my thoughts exactly.

    If you want to give to the church, it is your decision and your decision only, but do not tell me that you’re broke or are in financial trouble because God decided so. Give yourself a little credit, will you?

  10. Allison says:

    I have been to many churches where this is the case. It has actually driven me from attending church. Those preachers at “mega” churches nauseate me the most. They preach that if you give to the Lord in the way of money, you will be wealthy. Then, those who live on very little already send their money into the pockets of those who then live in million dollar mansions and spend hundreds of thousands on their daughters’ weddings. Perhaps it is my background in growing up Catholic (I do consider myself a Christian, have attended churches of various denominations), but I believe that those who truly serve the Lord do not accept money from those who have little to give. When they do receive that money, they do not keep it for themselves but give it to those in need. I do believe the Lord helps us with our struggles, but also gives us a call to help ourselves!

  11. james says:

    Wow! It makes me really sad that churches have given you the wrong impression about why it’s important to give. Below, I

  12. Courtney says:

    + 1 for the Paris Hilton comment. The Lord (and stock market) works in mysterious ways.

    I would also like to ask the Christians to calm down a little. M is not saying that a belief in Jesus Christ is futile or wrong. M is saying that in his personal experience, pastors have encouraged wrong priorities in the building of a strong financial base. Your mileage may vary. I have heard a couple of excellent financial sermons. 🙂

    This could turn into an interesting comment thread about how our faith plays into our financial planning, or it could turn into a “Well I never!” hissy fit. A blog entry is not religious persecution. Please be mindful and considerate in your responses.

  13. Christine says:

    While religious leaders should be grounded in the realities of modern life and sensitive to the biggest concerns of their congregations, the whole “health and wealth” ministry seems to be on a very slippery slope.

    I am a firm believer in creative visualization, but as far as I can tell, it’s a non-denominational practice.

    Good blog.

  14. Brenda says:

    I disagree with your statement about Mr. Osteen. Mr. Osteen will preach on staying in faith, having hope, and believing that God will bring you through the difficult times you are facing….whether it be financial, relationship problems, health issues, etc. HE DOES NOT SAY THAT IF YOU PRAY AND GIVE TO THE CHURCH THAT GOD WILL SOLVE YOUR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS! He states that with hope, faith, and a positive attitude that you can overcome your burdens. He constantly reinforces that negative attitudes can keep you from reaching your potential, but with a positive attitude, faith and hope…you can achieve your goals. He does not give a person false hope….he preaches the Bible. Remember the scripture: Mark 10:27 (King James Version) And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

    Mr Osteen’s career is not built on YOUR BELIEF of ministers misleading people. He is a God fearing man that God has used to help save the souls of the lost along with encouraging God’s people that you can live a joyful and peaceful life in this troublesome world. Mr. Osteen does not ask for money in his television programs and he also does not take a salary for being the pastor of Lakewood Church!

    i realize you are entitled to your opinion, as I am also. My advice to you would be: read your bible, have faith and hope, and it wouldn’t hurt to listen to a few sermons of Mr. Osteen’s. Also, it might help you to read his books to fully understand that this man loves God and is doing the Lord’s work. May God Bless You!

    P.S. No, I am not a member of Lakewood Church. I don’t even live in the state of Texas!

  15. Ceejay74 says:

    Good article! I’m an atheist, and I’ve gotten some pretty lucky financial windfalls without praying or tithing. I’ve also gotten pretty far through hard work and planning. So I’m living proof that you don’t need God’s help (or, if it is God helping me, that he/she loves us heathens as much as churchgoers).

    I think churches can be helpful in bringing people together and giving them sound advice, but they can also be really disingenuous and manipulative. My girlfriend remembers how the minister in the dirt-poor Virginia town she grew up in, where tithing was a matter of course for the congregation, always had shiny new cars. It’s pretty rough when you go somewhere for spiritual guidance and just get ripped off and given vaguely comforting BS for your time.

    I disagree about Dave Ramsey too, however. Though he encourages tithing and talking to a minister about money and relationship problems, he also is tough and practical about what it takes to get OK financially. I get a lot out of his call-in program.

  16. Cortni says:

    I am a Christian and a regular church attender and I would say that I agree and disagree with parts of this article (which I am sure the author would expect). I agree that some ministers deliver empty promises of wealth if you pray more and give more, but I also beleive that there are pastors out there who are honest. When I pray about money, I pray that God would help me make wise choices in what I do with my money and I believe that with God’s help I am able to make smart choices and succeed from that. God helps me, but I have to take the step. I also tithe and give, but not so I can become wealthy, but to help others. I do desire to be wealthy so I have the ability to bless and help those around me, but not so I can be greedy. That’s not to say others aren’t the same though.

    As far as church’s offering financial classes, I think that is a wonderful thing. Many churches (that are honest) offer these classes in an effort to help their people make smarter financial decisions. My pastor once said “I’m not going to tell you that just giving will fix your financial situation- you have to make smart choices too”. I appreciated the honesty and considering how many people in our country need to know the basics of sound finances, churches offering free classes are doing a great service.

  17. Kristian says:

    ‘Faith without works is dead’
    If you are sure that praying will not help, it won’t, plus you are not likley to try. However, JUST praying won’t likley bring a financial windfall.

  18. gregory says:

    I’m an atheist. If God had anything to do with rewarding people with money in any way, I should have none, but I have been extremely fortunate in my life. That fortune, however, was created by me doing the work so I could take advantage of the opportunities when they presented themselves.

    If I have been this fortunate while declaring myself a non believer, it makes little sense that God has anything to do with the money that you get.

  19. consumer_q says:

    Good Christians know that tithing is a great investment, so long as you are a True Good Christian. If you do not reap great rewards from your investment then you are obviously not a Good Christian, and well, it sucks to be you.

  20. Christina says:

    It’s funny though, I do get little miracles and sometimes a little money immediately after I’ve done some giving — not necessarily directly to the church, but outflowing to charities and organizations that do good work. As an adult making my own financial decisions, I’ve been fortunate to have more than I need.

    My conception of God is that get-rich-quick fixes are not part of the divine flow of abundance plan.

  21. Elsie says:

    Found this on PF Buzz. I love this post. I agree with a lot of what you have said. I hate it when people make the mistake of equating wealth with God’s favor. As in, if you’re poor then it’s your fault, you’re a sinner, and God is upset with you; he’s withholding from you until you get more faith. And if you’re rich (re: celebrity comment above), God loves you, you’re doing things right, etc.

    God gave us free will so we could choose between good and evil acts. God also gave us common sense to go with that free will, that we might be good stewards of what was given to us (including our paychecks and windfalls).

  22. Another Christian says:

    I’ve debated whether to respond to this post because Courtney (#4 & #13) already expressed so eloquently exactly what I’d want to say.

    However, I feel I have to say something in response to some of my fellow believers who have commented:

    1. If you believe that God blesses us financially (or any other way) because we “deserve” it or because we are “good Christians,” you have completely missed the basic message of Christianity:

    God does not bless us because we deserve it. He blesses us even though we absolutely DO NOT deserve it. It’s called grace.

    2. Christine, just because someone disagrees with you does not mean you are being persecuted! Yes, Christians are sometimes persecuted — even in the U.S. — but this post is far from persecution. Saying that it’s the worst example of persecution you’ve ever seen is an insult to those who have truly faced persecution. Sign up for the Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors newsletters or read some books about what Christians are facing, and you’ll find out what “persecution” really means!

  23. dividing the dime says:

    I’ve tithed 10% of my income for the past 17 years to my church. I do so to honor my God, my faith, and my earning capacity (I have lupus and I was a single parent for 10 years–a few struggles there…) Emotional feelings and a relationship (or non-relationship) with a minister or with a ‘religion’ is not the same as a relationship with God. I’m not rich, but am well taken care of and always have been. Both by God’s huge grace and by some small (in the scheme of things) action on my part. I tithe/give as gratitude to God.
    I also give about 1% of my income to a local food bank and a homeless shelter.
    I was led to attend the church I’m attending but have been turned off by many other churches for several reasons, not just money issues. The Pastor of my church is a great guy, but he also preaches the guilt thing about money (he’s human). I sometimes get tired of hearing that and I sometimes get tired of church, but the God I serve is different from the church I attend and the Pastor I help.
    Brave blog. Keep trying to make the connection.

  24. Jeff says:

    wow, talk about a bigoted asswipe.

    your blog sucks anyway, so I won’t be missing it.

  25. Steven says:

    Great post! And the ministers on TV even take credit cards!!

  26. Karen says:

    It really saddened me to read no. 25 I guess I did not know that while blogging that type of language was allowed. I know personally that it is not the writer who saddens me. It is just the energy that comes from it. Why not just be open to all the awesome aspects of each blog???? Take what you need(I benefit from each one) and let the rest go.

  27. Texas Girl says:

    Dave Ramsey never says ANYTHING like that, FYI. You clearly have never read his books.

    And churches DO offer Financial Peace classes or Crown Financial, etc., that have nothing to do with recruiting new people or manipulating them into giving $$, they offer them simply as a ministry to people in need of it.

  28. Jean says:

    Pray for common sense and self-discipline.
    Those are the things that will improve your financial position.

  29. Pepper says:

    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

    Matthew 6:25-33

    You may doubt the words of preachers…well, not every preacher speaks the truth. And you may choose not to believe me, but here is the truth from MY life.

    God is my Father, my protector and my provider. He wants me to keep my eyes on Him, and let Him take care of everything else. And I can tell you from hard, personal experience that when I trust in Him, I have had what I needed, when I needed. Not excess, not millions, but every need has been met…sometimes just in time, sometimes before, but every time, without fail. The hard financial times in my family’s life have come when I take my eyes off of Him and trying to do things in my own power.

  30. Maureen Sinclair says:

    I regularly read this site’s information and I am very impressed. Here in the UK we have quite a different relationship with religion and churchgoing to what we see in the USA. In the UK if someone posted that if you don’t have much money it is because God thinks you don’t deserve it and that someone who takes a rational approach is working for the devil – they would be considered to be a crank.

    It is fascinating for us to read posts that talk about religion in the way that some of the replies to what you write say. It would never happen here.

    Churches in the UK could not ask for the massive donations we see US churches ask for. The ‘ministers’ would find themselves behind bars.

    I can understand people finding comfort and consolation from their religion. Some of the replies here are quite strange to my European outlook.

  31. FellowBrit says:

    Yeah – agree with the other brit. You chose a truly ‘godfearin’ man to be president and he chose his ‘godfearin’ cronies to give him advice and look where they got you. Broke! Seems he didn’t pray hard enough – or maybe god just don’t luv him.

    Naughty ol’ Clinton at least got your economy into good shape. Pity god decided you’all been slackin on the prayin front.

  32. Jeff says:

    “It really saddened me to read no. 25 I guess I did not know that while blogging that type of language was allowed. I know personally that it is not the writer who saddens me. It is just the energy that comes from it. Why not just be open to all the awesome aspects of each blog???? Take what you need(I benefit from each one) and let the rest go.”

    believe me, there are plenty of personal finance blogs out there where I don’t have to read one that allows what amounts to religious hate speech.

    read comment #28 if you want to know my feelings on the matter when I’m not pissed off.

  33. DANIELLE says:

    To Delvin…I’ll explain that one for you….Satan takes care of his people too. They have their piece of heaven here on earth, but one day they’ll bust HELL wide open. So if you want to call me and every other GOD fearing, JESUS loving christian a JESUS FREAK….Thank you!! I consider that label a compliment! And you Delvin..have a BLESSED day! Jesus loves you!

  34. Jerry Massie says:

    There is a 4th reason why a minister or Bible teacher (me) might teach about fiscal responsibility in the church — because the early New Testament Church practiced “caring for one another” in practical ways (Acts 2:42-47). Perhaps it’s time for those in the Church to reconsider how they might be able to help their distressed brothers and sisters again — especially in hard times.

    In our church we will be looking (over the coming weeks) at ways to help our people reduce (a) food costs (growing produce,coupons, Sam’s Club bulk purchases, budgeting), (b) home heating costs (weatherization), (c) auto gas costs (home meetings, car pooling), and so on.

    Neither the church nor I will receive a single penny of income from this study and the measures we adopt as a group — but we hope to save our families hundreds of dollars.

    What’s your take on that kind of financial teaching?

  35. monica farmer says:

    we all should know by now that prayer changes things.In order for all of this to happen ,we must follow godscommandmentsand keep his ordinances.We should give tithes andofferings.It’s great to give fom your heart,aslong as god istelling you to do so.Obedience is better than sacrifice.No pastor or oganization should take advantage of God’s people.What one does in the dark shall come to the light.God sees all and the righteos will prevail.

  36. wealthman says:

    Reading some of these comments makes me fear for this country. If you are placing all your finances in the hands of god, you have nobody to balme but your god for any troubles you have.

    I think what really bothers me most is the people who are bringing out the bigot and religious persecution card. Money and religion have nothing to do with one another.

    The problem is that those who are praying and saying that their money prayers are being answered don’t realise that if they took charge of their own finances there would be no reason to pray in the first place.

    This is the problem with trying to write an article about religion and money. The moderate religious people already know the truth that prayer is not going to work by itself, but they aren’t willing to call out the religious fanatics that say otherwise. It gives a bad name to all religion no to mention it’s a stupid way to run your finances.

  37. Lily says:

    Prayer and faith do not make a person rich. Tithing is not an investment, nor is the church a piggy bank.

    But it is true that God does provide to His people. I will stand witness to that! And just because you say you are an atheist does not mean God does not consider you His.

    Prayers can bring blessings, but blessings are not always in the form of tangible currency.

  38. Cindy M says:

    Wow, you obviously hit a nerve. I am a bible believer and a “right divider” of the word of truth, II Timothy 2:15, which is absolutely necessary for understanding your bible and being a sensible “Christian.” What that means is I understand I’m NOT Israel, spiritual or otherwise. I’d say 98% of Christianity believe they must keep Old Testament law and “tithe,” which is just plain wrong. That all changed when in Acts 9 with the conversion of Paul by Christ after Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ gave Paul revelations no one knew before regarding the body of Christ. Paul wrote 13 books of the bible that give to the modern “Christian” all the practical updated advice he or she would ever need to know about how to live this life on earth. So I have to disagree vociferously with most of the “Christians” here who have made comments about God rewarding/punishing us and other superstitious foolishness since WE (the body of Christ) do NOT have a covenant relationship with God today. Everybody should read Paul’s works. He says excellent stuff like “if any would not work, neither should he eat,” II Thess 3:10, among other things that make good sense. So discard Dave Ramsey’s bad “Christian” advice about setting aside money you really don’t have to “tithe” to your megachurch – “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,” I Timothy 5:8.

    Yes, by all means, if you have money, you are to give to your brothers in Christ generously and from the heart. But God is NOT going to punish you if you don’t. You don’t get to heaven or not on the basis of what YOU do. Christ ALREADY did what needed to be done, I Cor 15:1-4, and only HE could do that. Again, the body of Christ is NOT under the old law/covenant.

    If you want to be set free from this kind of mindset, I recommend you check the web for Midacts Dispensational understanding and no, we aren’t a cult. We’ll always be a small group because we have no use for santa claus, don’t speak in tongues, heal or sing praise songs and wave our hands at the ceiling on Sunday mornings. We have no membership roll, don’t tithe, obviously, and don’t baptize people with water. We DO take the bible seriously and actually study and discuss it several times a week. I’m at [email protected] if you want more information.

  39. Counselor says:

    I do financial coaching for members of my financial institution. Ultimately what people do with their money is their own choice and I support their choices…as long as on the whole they’re living within their means.

    I have no less than three members right now who are so committed to their tithing (even more than 10% in some cases) that they do it to the detriment of their rent, their utilities, and to their overall financial health.

    Tithing is wonderful if you make other financial choices to free up the funds to do it within your means. But tithing can be an odd choice when it means your electricity is in danger of being shut off and you’re permanently damaging your credit…which impacts your ability to get a car or home down the road.

    Base your own choices on your understanding of your own faith. For my part I have a hard time believing that a benevolent God would expect all his followers to tithe a set % even when it hurts them and their children.

    Now, if you take the point of view that a set tithing schedule makes you re-evaluate your other expenses and make hard choices…I don’t have an issue with that. But for pete’s sake…live within your means.

  40. Carol says:

    I have to agree with some of the writers points. Bill Gates is one of if not the richest man in the world (or maybe it’s that Sultan guy) and I have never heard him credit tithing for Microsoft’s wealth. In fact, I heard him say in an interview, that he is not sure if there is a God.

    I have been a Christian for 25 years and I don’t believe that prosperity is a sign of God’s favor. What I do believe is that God in Christ commanded us to love one another. And in II Corinthians, helping people in times of need is one way to prove that your love is not just lip service. That should be the Christian motivation for giving. As far as financial hardships, that is just a part of life, as Solomon said, there is a season for everything. In II Corinthians, the most generous church was also the poorest, and there is nothing in scripture to suggest that they became wealthy as a result of their giving, at least not material wealth. God has said that he will meet our needs if we trust in him, meaning a roof over our heads, food, not going naked (not a McMansion and an Explorer). One way that these needs are met is through the love and generosity of other Christians, especially as God reminds them of your generosity to them.

  41. betty says:

    Prayer will work if you do it right and hard enough:

    And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

    Those that don’t have enough faith will always fail.

  42. Geraldine says:

    Hi! I had to comment on this topic. I am a Christian woman. I have heard my pastor preach a few times on financial topics. It is always the same message though….pray harder, you situation will get better and make sure you give more to the church. Tithing is very important. That’s fine but I have seen in my life that prayer and giving more has done nothing for my financial situation. Please allow me to explain.

    In 2000, I stopped working because I found out I was pregnant. I have not worked since. At the time, my husband and I were making close to 100,000. We dont live the “high” life. We rent an apartment and own a car which is 3 years old. Living on 1 salary is hard. We went through our life savings in 3 years. We then starting using credit cards for EVERYTHING! Fast forward to a few months ago, we filed for bankruptcy. We tried a debt consildation company but after paying 851 a month to then for almost a year, they didnt pay the creditors a dime and kept the money as fees. Needless to say, my husband and I dont a law degree so all the big words in the contract we signed, were kinda foreign to us.
    So the only way out was bankruptcy. Now if this was God’s will, so be it. Maybe perhaps it was a lesson for us to learn? I dont know but I dont think God, as the loving God that he is suppose to be, would find it loving that my 7 year old keeps asking me why I cry so much.

    There is a song by the Christian singer Kathy Troccoli called A Different Road. There is a line is there that reads….”It’s got to be….everything in His time” How long do I have to wait? Ive been waiting for years! So to answer someone else’s comments….I’ll tell you why some of us buy lottery tickets….when I buy a lottery ticket…I know that at 11:20pm, there is a chance that my numbers might come out. This gives me hope…not prayer. Im sure I will get some nasty comments but please understand, I have been hurting for so long, Im bitter. I am a fun loving Mom of 2 boys who used to love life. Now every day has become a chore for me.

    One more thing….this is a little off topic but perhaps someone can explain to me this…Im a good person, I dont drink or smoke. Like Ive said before, I have been praying about our financial situation for years and nothing good has come from prayer. Last week a doorman from my neighborhood won 5 million dollars playing an instant scratch off ticket. I thought good for him. It wasnt until I spoke with my sister in law that I found out that she went to school with him and knew his family. He did major drugs, robbed a guy years ago and stole from his family. My sister in law thought she heard he od’d a few years ago and died. Can someone tell me? This is the person God wants to win the lottery? Perhaps I should have been more like him, maybe God then would have answered my prayers.

  43. jenna says:

    Money is the root of all evil!!

  44. Cindy M says:

    No, jenna, it’s the LOVE of money, big difference. I Timothy 6:10, if you want to check it for yourself.

  45. Mike says:

    Thats an interesting posting that you have.

    I understand how you feel about finances and religion. Though the bible is full of good lessons on finances and fruitfulness. Not necessarily monetary.

    I think alot of our religious leaders and people tend to interpret changes in the economy as dooms day events

    I get that alot of times when I leave service about wait for god. I think god is waiting for us to use the talents and gifts that we have.

    I know religious leaders say this for protecting us. I know when greed and selfish takes root in your heart and soul in could lead to destruction.

    i guess if one just reads there bible, go to a good church and pray supernatural things will happen financially and throughout your life.

    Pray for things to come not for the problems going on today

  46. Geraldine says:


    While I agree with most of what you said…. I have to say…your last line left me confused. Why would I not attempt to pray for the problems I have now? You say to pray for things to come. Did u mean things to come that would fix the problems I have now? It didnt seem like you meant that. It sounded more like, the problems you have today will always be there so no need to pray for them.

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  49. kimberly johnson says:

    I thought this was outstanding!!!!!!! I have felt this way for so long and most of my friends give give give to the church and they are in such financial hardships you would not believe. I think god gives us common since and expects us to use it.
    I believe in god and prayer,and I feel that most church’s have turned into scams and bussiness-god is not in most churches- -its about finanaces and mmoney.
    Thanks for what you wrote it is the truth!!!!
    k. johnson

  50. david says:

    i have a question what if u dont make alot of money what about the 10% after i pay the 10% there not that much after so i started payin my bills and then pay what i can to God is that wrong or should i be giving to God 1st and then pay the bills and have my stuff turned off

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